A thug spat into a nine-month-old baby’s face and shouted “white people shouldn’t breed” in a sickening race-hate assault.
Rezzas Abdulla left little Layla-Jean in her pushchair, covered in saliva, after the shocking attack in South Shields last January.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the baby’s mum, hairdresser Rebecca Telford, 25, was out walking with the tot on Chichester Road in the town when the 33-year-old attacker approached without warning.
Prosecutor Emma Dowling told the court: “He lent into the pushchair and spat into the face of her daughter.
“As he did so, he shouted or said ‘white people shouldn’t breed’ then walked off.”
The court heard when the baby’s stunned mother confronted Abdulla, he told her to “shut the f*** up” and walked off.
Miss Dowling told the court the spit was “sprayed around” the baby’s face and a shocked passer-by gave her a tissue to clean up.
Sickened Rebecca tried to take a photograph of her baby’s attacker as he walked away but was too shaken by what had happened.
Abdulla, who has two previous convictions for race-hate attacks on white females, was later tracked down through CCTV.
Abdulla, of Imeary Street, South Shields, was convicted of racially aggravated common assault after a trial at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, which he did not attend.
In a victim impact statement Rebecca told the police: “I am completely disgusted and distressed that a grown man, regardless of race or religion, would spit on a defenceless baby in a completely unprovoked attack.
“If he had just walked by I would not have even noticed him, there was no eye contact and no words had been exchanged. I had never seen him before.”
The court heard the Layla-Jean, now almost two, was taken to the doctor after the attack for tests.
Rebecca added: “I believe he spat on her purely because we are white, I was a lone female and an easy target.”
Mr Recorder Darren Preston told Abdulla: “There is something viscerally horrible and disgusting about spitting at someone, particularly in the face and to do so to a baby was particularly disgusting, let alone to make things even worse when your motivation for doing so is racial hatred.”
The judge referred to Abdulla’s previous convictions and told him: “You have got a problem, it seems to me, with white women.”
The court heard after the attack last January, Abdulla spent time, between July and September, receiving psychiatric treatment in hospital, which has continued after his release into the community.
The judge said Abdulla’s deteriorating mental health at the time of the attack “contributed” towards the offence.
Abdulla was sentenced to eight months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, with rehabilitation and mental health treatment requirements.
The judge said “society in general” would be better served by Abdulla being allowed to continue his psychiatric treatment programme.
Vic Laffey, defending, said medical evidence shows Abdulla’s mental health was deteriorating in the six months leading to his hospital admission with schizophrenia last summer.
He now receives anti-psychotic treatment in the community.
Mr Laffey said: “This suggests he was ill, or becoming ill, at the time this offence was committed.
“He is clearly vulnerable himself, he has significant support from his family and is making progress.”
Speaking after the court case today, Rebecca said: “South Shields is really multicultural, and I have never witnessed anything like this before, between any races. It was horrifying. I am glad he has been brought to justice, but I think he has got off lightly.
“I am not racist at all but I honestly think if it was the other way round and I had been abusive towards him, then I would have been treated differently.
“I had been doing a bit of shopping and was just round the corner from my house.
“I saw a man walking in the opposite direction and then as he passed us he stopped, leaned into the pram, spat on Layla-Jean, and said, ‘White people should not breed’.
“It was horrendous, I was just so shocked.
“It was the racism that disgusted me. I started yelling at him and he just walked away.
“Layla Jean was just nine months old. She did not have a clue what was going on, but she was still distressed.
“A lady stopped and helped me to wipe her face.
“I didn’t call the police at first because I was just so worried about Layla-Jean. She was only nine months at the time.
“I phoned the doctor and I was told that Layla-Jean might need to have a BCG injection, in case she had contracted TB.
“Normally kids don’t get vaccinated until they are much older, and it would have been a lot for her to go through. Luckily, it wasn’t necessary in the end, but it put me through a lot of worry and stress.
“I wasn’t sure if the police would take what had happened seriously, because it wasn’t physically violent, but they were fantastic, and managed to catch him within a few days.”
Rebecca posted about the attack on Facebook and it was shared more than 3,000 times.
In the post she stated: “This post is just for awareness of this man.
“I must stress I’m not trying to instigate any hate against Muslims or the Islamic community, this was obviously an isolated attack by one man (this man) not the entire religion.”