Anjem Choudary associate found guilty of attacking cuddling schoolboy in Upton Park
PUBLISHED: 17:17 24 August 2016 | UPDATED: 17:55 24 August 2016
A Muslim convert and associate of Anjem Choudary has been found guilty this afternoon of knocking a schoolboy unconscious for cuddling his girlfriend.
Michael Coe, 35, of Devenish Road, Greenwich, spotted the two 16-year-olds cuddling at a bus stop in Wilson Road, Upton Park, while driving in his silver Ford Focus.
He was convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and battery at Southwark Crown Court earlier after the jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts after 90 minutes of deliberation.
Judge Michael Gledhill described Coe as a danger to the public and warned him he will be facing a “substantial” term of imprisonment.
“He deliberately intervened in something perfectly normal with the intention to force his religious views on others,” he said.
Coe, who is 6ft 1in and weighs 16 and a half stone, pulled over to confront the pair on April 15, demanding to know if they were Muslims, before insulting the girl.
He then grabbed the boy by the throat, knocked him out by smashing his head against a wall and kicked his head as he lay, leaving him unconscious and bleeding.
When passing schoolteacher Boutho Siwela tried to come to the teenager’s aid, he attacked him as well.
Coe has a long record of violent offences starting when he was 16, including assaults, burglary, robbery and violent disorder, and was convicted in May 2013 of getting out of his car to confront a group of youngsters about their “inappropriate language”.
Judge Gledhill added that Coe’s involvement in this “strikingly similar” incident would be an aggravating feature in his sentencing.
The married father-of-two was alledgedly radicalised in prison by Al Qaeda terrorist Dhiren Barot in 2007, while serving an eight-year term for firing a shotgun at police during an arrest.
Coe, since known as Mikaeel Ibrahim, became a close associate of recently-convicted hate preacher Choudary – founder of the banned organisation Al-Muhajiroun, of which Coe was a member.
Coe was on a list of individuals Choudary was banned from having contact with while on bail, charged with inviting support for ISIS, of which Choudary has since been convicted.
Newham borough commander, Chief Supt Tony Nash, said: “Coe tried to save himself from prosecution by purporting to be some kind of hero, coming to the rescue of a girl he had in fact been abusive to.
“It was fortunate that both victims did not suffer serious physical injuries, although the mental and emotional impact on them, and the teenage girl who witnessed the attack, is difficult to gauge.
“I’m grateful to the second victim, who bravely took photos of the incident, at risk to himself. This evidence enabled us to quickly identify Coe. He also provided crucial witness testimony at the trial.
“Newham has a diverse and tolerant community profile and from this comes its strength to be a cohesive and progressive society.
“By working together, police and the communities we serve can help ensure that those who attempt to unbalance this through criminal behaviour are brought to face justice, as in this case.”
Sentencing was adjourned until September 21 so further reports could be made.