A DRUNKEN Ilminster man who shouted a racist remark at a young black child at a park and threatened to kill him made an impassioned plea to magistrates saying he had fallen under the spell of a bad influence.

Ashley William Oliver had been drinking heavily when he then attacked a Good Samaritan who had shown concern for his welfare.

He then kicked the man’s cat before mouthing off at some children playing in Ilminster Recreation Ground.

He then turned on the man, who had only spoken to him as he was concerned at the state he was in, and pushed and kicked him.

When the defendant appeared before Somerset Magistrates they were told he had drunk so much he had no recall of what happened when he was arrested by the police following the incident.

But when he returned to the court to be sentenced he told the magistrates that he was sorry for what happened telling them that he had not been “raised to be this way.”

“I learnt it all off an older person who I befriended and hung around with for a long time,” he said.

“I was very lonely, and although I didn’t agree with his ways I hung around with him because there was no one else there for me.

“Before I met this person I had never been arrested and had a black friend I went to school with and also have a mixed race friend now.

“His ways rubbed off on me because of the amount of time I spent with him, however after losing contact with him things started to get back to normality.”

He said that on the day in question he said he felt scared as he thought his girlfriend was leaving him and he drank to block out his feelings and acted stupidly.

Oliver, 28, of Letham Court pleaded guilty at a previous court hearing to assaulting Mark Harwood by beating him at Ilminster on June 20.

He also admitted using threatening or abusive words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour likely to cause somebody harassment, alarm or distress, and the offence was racially aggravated.

Prosecutor Suzie Butler said that on the day in question Oliver was at the recreation ground in Ilminster and had consumed a large amount of alcohol.

“The complainant, Mr Harwood saw him and stopped to check he was ok but during their conversation the defendant kicked Mr Harwood’s cat and then walked off,” she said.

“He walked in the opposite direction and the complainant saw Oliver approach a group of children who were playing in the skate park area."

He then went over to a black child, threatening to kill them, swearing and using racial slurs.

Miss Butler added: “The defendant then pushed and kicked Mr Harwood but he did not sustain any injuries.”

The child who was shouted at was never traced as he ran away from the scene, with Miss Butler adding that Oliver had used a shod foot as a weapon.

When the defendant was later arrested and interviewed by the police he made no comment to all questions asked of him.

Defending solicitor Ray Peters said it was a very unpleasant incident and Oliver had no recollection at all of the events that day.

“The Crown has accepted that because of the heavy level of intoxication my client was under there was no way he could have formed any intent in making the remark to the young boy,” he said.

“He is remorseful for his actions which came about as a result of him believing that his long term partner had left him and he regrets what he did.

“Since then he is back with his partner and their relationship is moving forwards.”

Chair of the magistrates Judy Watson told Oliver it had been a “really unpleasant incident which seemed to reflect a pattern of behaviour.

“This has absolutely got to stop as it is unacceptable in every possible way,” she said.

“I cannot begin to think what those children, particularly the black child, must have felt and it will have a huge impact on their lives.”

They sentenced the defendant to a 12 month community order with 100 hours unpaid work and also fined him £200. Costs of £30 and an £85 victim surcharge were also imposed.