A former journalist who drunkenly hurled insults at a woman on the street because of her race has been handed a six-month community order.
Robert Margerum’s expletive-ridden outburst came as his victim Monica Sara Lafosse – who is originally from Peru and has lived in the UK for the past 12 years – passed him on Abbey Street in Chester city centre on the evening of February 24.
Hearing fluent English speaker Ms Lafosse’s South American accent as she chatted on her mobile phone, 62-year-old Margerum launched a scathing verbal attack on her, shouting ‘you are not even English, get out of my country’.
She crossed the road to get away from him but he followed her, causing her to cross again.
No memory of incident
Margeum, of Bolesworth Road in Upton, denied he was racist when he was interviewed by police and explained he had no recollection of the incident, as he had probably been drunk and suffers from short-term memory loss.
However, he accepted it was him when he was shown CCTV footage and said he probably did say those things as that is the sort of language he would use, said prosecutor Marie Haydon.
Appearing before Chester Magistrates Court on Monday (April 4), Margerum – who pleaded guilty to using racially aggravated offensive language at an earlier hearing – was sentenced to a community order comprising a rehabilitation activity requirement and an electronic curfew for a period of three months.
The court heard he has four previous convictions, with the last three for being drunk and disorderly and having occurred within the past 12 months.
Defending, Adam Antoszkiw said his client’s offending stems from the death of his wife in 2006.
Mr Antoszkiw said: “Obviously the alcohol he has imbibed has clouded his memory.
“He is a dependent drinker now and accepts that himself.
“He is a gentleman who has struggled in the past six or seven years but appears to have found gainful employment and will be making a positive contribution going forward.”
Magistrates also ordered Margerum – who used to work at the Chester Chronicle – to pay £200 in compensation to Ms Lafosse, a £60 victim surcharge and £85 in court costs.