A football hooligan attacked Labour activist Owen Jones because of his political beliefs and sexuality, a judge has ruled.
James Healy, 40, attacked the Guardian columnist in August last year where Mr Jones was karate-kicked to the ground by the football fan outside the Lexington pub in north London.
Mr Jones, who appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court today, said he is being targeted by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance and was called a ‘f***ing faggot over and over again’ last week.
James Healy, 40, Liam Tracey, 34, and Charlie Ambrose, 30, admitted affray after Mr Jones was left with a swollen head and bruising to his arms and legs on 17 August last year.
James Healy (pictured, left) is accused of attacking Owen Jones (right, outside Snaresbrook Crown Court) due to his political views or homosexuality
Mr Healy alone admitted ABH but denies the attack was motivated by Mr Jones’s political views or homosexuality.
The left-wing commentator insisted the attack was one of many ‘targeted’ threats to his safety from the far-right.
He told the court the DFLA, affiliated with EDL founder Tommy Robinson, had created a poll on their Facebook group in which members could vote which liberal figure should be ‘targeted’ next.
Mr Jones said he came out on top ahead of shadow home secretary Diane Abbott. Mr Healy sat expressionless in the dock as Mr Jones claimed the attack left him ‘disorientated, hurt and with no sense of what had happened.’
‘I was completely disorientated, I hurt my head badly and it was just 10 seconds, I don’t know what happened,’ he said. ‘Because I was attacked from behind I had no sense of what had happened.’
The Chelsea fan, who had neo-Nazi memorabilia inside his home, claims he attacked Mr Jones because of the gay rights campaigner ‘barged’ him and spilt his drink inside the pub.
Badges and pins bearing a Nazi skull and cross bones and a photograph of himself performing the Nazi salute were found in his Portsmouth home by police.
Mr Healy shook his head as Mr Jones told the court the interaction had been ‘positive as far as he was concerned’.
Owen Jones is pictured outside Snaresbrook Crown Court in East London where three men are awaiting sentencing
Mr Jones said two supposed fans had approached him to ask him who he was and praise his work. Moments later he was kicked from behind as he was leaving the bar.
‘I was stopped by one of the two strangers [on the way to the lavatory],’ the victim said in a statement.
‘Though I can’t remember the exact wording of conversation it was along the lines of ‘are you Owen Jones? Big fan of your work.. Keep it up.’
‘The nature of conversation was jovial. I did not spill anyone’s drink that evening nor did anyone challenge me for doing so.’
James Healy is pictured outside Snaresbrook Crown Court as he stands accused of carrying out a homophobic or politically motivated attack
The victim said he has never seen Mr Healy before in his life and insisted he would have bought him a pint if he had knocked over his drink.
‘If I thought I knocked someone’s drunk over and I would apologise profusely, I would be mortified if I’d knocked over someone’s drink and I would insist on buying them a pint,’ Mr Jones added.
He told the court he had been targeted because he used his public profile to stand up for people ‘like [him], who struggled with their sexuality and felt scared and anxious’.
‘I frequently talk about LGBTQ rights, lots and lots of my articles have been about LGBTQ rights.
‘I’ve got the Pride flag in my Twitter bio. I grew up in a time in the 1990s with Section 28 when I felt there were not many people in the public eye like myself who were closeted to look up to,’ he added.
‘It’s the combination of being left-wing, gay, anti-fascist anti-racist, that is in sum everything the far-right hate and because I use my profile they’ve come to see me as this hate figure in their ranks.
‘Last week police got in touch with me because one was anonymously calling me a f***ing faggot over and over again.
‘A concrete example given is that DFLA ran a poll on their Facebook page about which public figure they should target and I was there along with Diane Abbott and I polled at the top, that I should be the main target.’
Mr Jones said: ‘Almost every single day I’m on the receiving end of an unrelenting obsessive campaign by far right sympathisers. I get death threats and violence all the time.
‘[Online] they usually have loud and proud far right football hooligan descriptors for example Democratic Football Lad’s Alliance.’
The left-wing commentator claimed that far-right activists have repeatedly pretended to be fans in order to harass him.
‘After the incident members of the far right doxxed my private number and several members rang up Danny Tommo, the convicted sidekick of Tommy Robinson,’ he said.
The trial of issue continues today with Mr Healy, Mr Tracey and Mr Ambrose due to be sentenced on 11 February. The hearing continues.