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Racist abuse at clergyman's family: Father John Taylor describes 'life of hell' as Malawian wife and son taunted by neighbour in Margate

By Paul Hooper

A clergyman has told of his family’s “life of hell” facing racist abuse from one of their neighbours.

John Taylor, 53, – who has just been appointed an archdeacon – was so desperate that he began a diary of misery about life in Margate.

Eventually, after a number of complaints, one of his neighbours was taken to court and convicted of harassment which took place in June last year and of using insulting words.

Father John Taylor from Margate
Father John Taylor from Margate

Father John said: “It has been a hellish nightmare. But what my wife and I have been through has been dreadful. Our son was also subjected to racist taunts. That was just heartbreaking to witness.

“Other than my wife coming from Malawi...I can’t think of why this neighbour has continued to scream racial abuse at us. They even targeted our one-year-old son at the time.

“It got so bad we had to start recording everything said to us as we arrived and left our home. This should have a place of refuge.”

The clergyman revealed that the family even stayed out of their big garden because of all the abuse.

"Our son was also subjected to racist taunts. That was just heartbreaking to witness..." - Father John Taylor

Nicola Coomber, of Surrey Road, Margate was given a 12 month conditional discharge after magistrates in Folkestone found her guilty of two counts of causing religious and racial hatred.

She was ordered to pay the Taylors £100 compensation and pay £320 court costs.

The clergyman told the hearing: “We feel we deserve to live in peace and should not be subjected to mindless acts of aggression and abuse simply because of our beliefs and racial background.”

Father Taylor revealed that lies about him were spread about his position as a priest – ironically the court judgement came on the same day of his new appointment as archdeacon.

The priest – who also has a daily following of more than 23,000 on his Internet ministry – hopes that peace will eventually return to his neighbourhood.

“I told the magistrates that I genuinely didn’t understand her behaviour because we all have to live here and it would make things a lot easier if we just all got along together, “ he added.

Kent Police Inspector Rhiannan Pepper of Thanet Community Safety Unit said: "Following an investigation by my officers into reports of hate-related abuse, Nicola Coomber, 40, of Surrey Road, Cliftonville, was charged in October 2017 in relation to using religiously-aggravated and racially aggravated threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause alarm or distress in relation to incidents in June 2017. She was found guilty of the offences at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court.

"We are pleased we were able to bring this case before the courts for justice to be done.

"We take reports of hate crime seriously and investigate all lines of enquiry and aim to bring a charge to be approved by the Crown Prosecution Service when appropriate. Victims of crime are at the heart of everything we do and we encourage them to report all incidents to us."

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