Football hooligan, 40, is jailed for nearly three years for attacking Guardian columnist Owen Jones because of his political beliefs and sexuality

A convicted football hooligan has been sentenced to two years and eight months in prison after an attack on Guardian columnist and left-wing activist Owen Jones.
James Healy, 40, admitted assaulting the Guardian columnist in August last year, when Mr Jones was karate-kicked to the ground outside the Lexington pub in north London.  
But he denied being motivated by Mr Jones's sexuality or political campaigning, claiming he did not know who he was.  
After a two-day hearing to determine Healy's motive, Recorder Judge Anne Studd QC previously found the unprovoked attack could only be motivated by Mr Jones's media profile as a left-wing polemicist.
She added: 'I therefore propose to sentence Mr Healy on the basis that this was a wholly unprovoked attack on Mr Jones by reason of his widely published left-wing and LGBTQ beliefs by a man who has demonstrable right-wing sympathies.'
Following the case, Mr Jones tweeted: 'On my birthday last year, a far right extremist led an attack on me, driven by homophobia and hatred of my left-wing politics. Today, he has been handed a hefty prison sentence.
'As I wrote in my victim impact statement, prison is not a solution to far right extremism. He will go to a prison a violent far right extremist, and probably leave prison a violent far right extremist.
'There is no judicial solution to the far right: it is a political problem.
'The attack wasn't just driven by far right extremism, but was a homophobic hate crime.
'Homophobic hate crimes have doubled over five years; transphobic hate crimes have trebled. We are desperately overdue a proper discussion about this.'
Pictured: James Healy
Pictured: Owen Jones at Snaresbrook Crown Court
James Healy (left) admitted assaulting Guardian columnist Owen Jones (right) in August last year, when Mr Jones was karate-kicked to the ground outside the Lexington pub in north London
Following Healy's arrest, a search of his home found a number of items connected to far-right ideology, including a collection of pin badges linked to white supremacist groups.
The Chelsea FC fan - who has a string of convictions for football-related violence - had argued he 'had the hump' because the victim had bumped into him and spilled his drink.
Mr Jones suffered cuts and swelling to his back and head, and bruises all down his body in the incident outside the Lexington pub in Islington on August 17.

In his evidence, Mr Jones said: 'I'm an unapologetic socialist, I'm an anti-racist, I'm an anti-fascist and I've consistently used my profile to advocate left-wing causes.'
Previously, the columnist told the court how two apparent fans had approached him to ask 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],' he said in a statement. 
Healy denied being motivated by Mr Jones's sexuality or political campaigning, claiming he did not know who he was
Healy denied being motivated by Mr Jones's sexuality or political campaigning, claiming he did not know who he was
Appearing at Snaresbrook Crown Court today, Healy (pictured) was given a two-year, eight-month prison sentence for affray and assault occasioning actual bodily harm
Appearing at Snaresbrook Crown Court today, Healy (pictured) was given a two-year, eight-month prison sentence for affray and assault occasioning actual bodily harm
'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.' 
The victim said he had never seen 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,' he said.
'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.
'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.'   
Appearing at Snaresbrook Crown Court today, Healy was given a two-year, eight-month prison sentence for affray and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
His two co-defendants - Charlie Ambrose, from Brighton, and Liam Tracey, from Camden - were given suspended sentences of eight months each, suspended for two years after pleading guilty to affray over the incident.
Football hooligan, 40, is jailed for nearly three years for attacking Guardian columnist Owen Jones because of his political beliefs and sexuality Football hooligan, 40, is jailed for nearly three years for attacking Guardian columnist Owen Jones because of his political beliefs and sexuality Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 05:51 Rating: 5

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