Lord Alan Sugar has thanked police after a man who sent him abusive, antisemitic letters was convicted of religiously-aggravated harassment.
The businessman and star of The Apprentice said he had been reluctant to refer the matter to “already stretched” police but thanked officers in Essex for “helping to shine a light on the fact that this type of behaviour is simply not acceptable”.
Patrick Gomes, 70, sent three letters to one of Lord Sugar’s business premises in Loughton between October and December 2018, Essex Police said.
The force said each letter was addressed directly to Lord Sugar and included abusive, threatening and offensive language. The letters were derogatory towards the Jewish faith.
Gomes was arrested at his home in Lyttelton Road, Leyton, on March 19 2019, after his DNA and fingerprints were found on one of the letters.
Officers found additional letters written by Gomes, all of which were discriminatory in nature. They also found the address the original letters were sent to listed in his address book.
Gomes denied involvement throughout the investigation but was found guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court on December 1 of religiously-aggravated harassment, putting those targeted in fear of violence.
Essex Police said he had failed to appear at court but a warrant was issued and he was arrested on December 2 and was remanded in custody to await sentencing.
A spokeswoman for Chelmsford Crown Court said a sentencing hearing has been listed for December 23.
Lord Sugar said: “I would like to pass on my sincere gratitude to the police for their assistance in this case.
“I have to be honest, I was reluctant to pass this matter on to the police as they are already stretched and have enough on their plates dealing with serious crimes.
“I would like to thank them sincerely for helping to shine a light on the fact that this type of behaviour is simply not acceptable and that racism or any form of discrimination is simply not acceptable.”
Investigating officer Pc Marc Arnold, of Epping Forest’s Community Policing Team, said: “Nobody should ever be subjected to this level of abuse or fear physical violence because of their faith.
“I’m really pleased that justice has been rightly served.
“There is simply no excuse for any hate crime and if this happens to you or you witness this type of behaviour, please tell us – we will not tolerate racism or discrimination of any kind and neither should you.”
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.