A FORMER soldier posted messages on a Facebook page urging people to “behead ragheads” on the day Drummer Lee Rigby was brutally murdered.
Ex-infantryman Paul Fisher – who served two tours of duty in Iraq – claimed he was venting his anger following the killing outside Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, London.
The 28-year-old went on to the “Stop Destroying Our Armed Forces” Facebook page after being told soldiers were banned from wearing their uniforms in public.
Fisher – described at Livingston Sheriff Court yesterday as an “exemplary” soldier – admitted that his racist message was “intended to incite others to carry out serious violence and kill others”.
Catherine Knowles, prosecuting, told the court: “When asked about posting to behead people, he said that he did that out of anger but understood the gravity of the post and that bad people reading it would get the wrong impression.
“He was asked about the term ‘ragheads’ and stated this was an army term from when he served in Iraq. He stated on a number of occasions he was not a racist and he had friends who were Muslim and Indian.”
Fisher, 28, from Livingston, appeared for sentence yesterday after earlier pleading guilty to committing a breach of the peace by his use of social media on May 22.
He was sentenced to 270 hours of unpaid work and put under social work supervision for two years. His defence solicitor, Anna Murphy, said Fisher had posted the inflammatory messages in response to a post by another individual.
She said: “Once he calmed down he deleted his post before the police came to see him.
“Police initially advised him that they didn’t view it as being sufficiently serious to take it any further. Obviously somebody more senior reviewed that decision.”
She added: “[Fisher] tells me the comments were not intended by him to incite violence, but they were very ill-judged indeed. It’s not that he intended to act on the comments made.”
Fisher served two six-month tours of duty in Iraq with the Royal Scots Infantry between 2003 and 2007. He had been discharged with an exemplary service record, but had two previous convictions for offences committed after he left the army. Following the Facebook posting, Fisher was diagnosed with combat stress and is awaiting psychiatric support.
Drummer Rigby, 25, was murdered in a terror attack in Woolwich on May 22. Michael Olumide Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Oluwatobi Adebowale, 22, were charged with murder and are awaiting trial.