Heavily pregnant woman subjected to vile racist tirade in Burnley supermarket

A heavily pregnant Sainsbury's shopper was subjected to a vile racist tirade by a woman who threatened to boot her unborn child out of her, a court heard.

Monday, 22nd July 2019, 10:15 am
Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court

The mum-to-be was the victim of a torrent of shocking abuse and further threats shouted by Susan Morgan-Bird as she went through a checkout at the supermarket chain's branch in Burnley.

The town's magistrates were told Morgan-Bird (35) called terrified the woman, who was 32 weeks pregnant at the time, a "bitch" and an "immigrant" and went on: "I'm going to kick the baby out of you."

Married mum-of-two Morgan-Bird, who receives handouts, even told the victim: "You're having that baby for the benefits," and "your husband is a drug dealer."

The victim, was to tell police she thought the defendant would leave her alone because she was expecting, but said it seemed to make her more angry. She was left distraught, sobbing and afraid of going out after what she described as the "nasty" and "disgusting" 1pm outburst six months ago.

Ex-waitress Morgan-Bird, who has a conviction for battery from 2009, could have been facing up to two years in jail for the prolonged attack on January 23rd, but was given a community order. The court was told she has mental health problems and sometimes struggles to control her emotions, but knew her issues didn't excuse what she did.

Mrs Philippa White (prosecuting) said the victim got the feeling that a woman, about six metres away, was staring at her as she emptied her basket onto the conveyor belt.

She then heard some racial abuse, asked the woman what her problem was and she replied "You are." The victim said: "Let's sort it out," and the defendant replied: "You come here then."

Mrs White said the next thing the victim knew Morgan-Bird was directly behind her with a member of staff and said: "I was going to bash her in, but she is stopping me," referring to the assistant.

The staff member intervened and ushered the defendant away to another till. Morgan-Bird began unloading her shopping, saying: "I was going to sort her out, but she is stopping me," again referring to the worker.

The prosecutor said when it was pointed out that the victim was pregnant, the defendant said: "Yeah, I know. I was going to punch the baby out of her."

The victim continued to pay for her shopping and was escorted from the store by the staff member who had tried to stop the defendant's behaviour. Morgan-Bird told the victim: "You're having that baby for the benefits. Your husband is a drug dealer."

Mrs White said when the victim got home she told her sister what had happened and broke down in tears. The prosecutor continued: "She said she felt intimidated considering how close the defendant was to her. She was on her own and felt scared. She was very concerned about the threats that were made, particularly in relation to her unborn child."

Mrs White told the court that in her impact statement, the victim said since the incident, she was more fearful about going out on her own.

The prosecutor added: "She is worried that something similar may happen again. She says she was made to feel incredibly vulnerable, especially as she was pregnant at the time. The incident has made her more wary and cautious when she was does go out and about."

A probation officer, who interviewed the defendant, said: "The defendant says she has no racist views. She believes that each person should be able to live their own life and she has no right to abuse people in that way. It appears that she just said the most offensive and hurtful things she could think of at the time.

"She fully accepts the victim would be likely to be distressed."

The officer said the defendant had been diagnosed with mental health issues and was on medication "but didn't seek to excuse her behaviour in terms of her mental health."

Miss Cathryn Fell (defending) told the hearing what she said was "totally unacceptable." The solicitor added: "She wishes to apologise to the victim."

The Bench told Morgan-Bird the attack was clearly unprovoked and left a pregnant woman very distressed. They added: "However, we accept they weren't planned comments. You had not gone with the intention of doing that."

Morgan-Bird, of Castle Street, Hapton, admitted racially aggravated harassment. She was given a 12-month community order, with a 10-day rehabilitation activity requirement and was ordered to pay the victim £50 compensation. The defendant must also pay £85 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.