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High-profile deputy editor targeted by racist phone calls

A high-profile journalist labelled “the face of the Evening Post” was inundated with racist phone calls at work, a court has heard.

Stan Szecowka, deputy editor of the Bristol Evening Post, had returned from leave to find 24 “abusive and threatening” voicemail messages from a man who thought he was of Yugoslavian origin.

And between September 7 and 10, 2001, Stan received a further four abusive calls.

Gordon Maddocks, (44), of Broom Hill, Bristol, admitted racially aggravated harassment when he appeared at Bristol Crown Court after leaving 28 messages between August 25 and September 11.

Fergus Currie, prosecuting, said: “Three mentioned Mr Szecowka’s racial origin. Mr Maddocks assumed Mr Szecowka comes from Yugoslavia when, in fact, he is Polish.”

He said: “In one of the messages Maddocks said ‘I’ve followed you home and I’ll smash all your windows’ and another one said ‘I hope something happens to you and your family’.”

The barrister described Stan – who has his picture in the newspaper next to contact telephone number – as the face of the Evening Post. He said Stan had been approached by Maddocks in 2001 and urged to expose police corruption following the execution of a firearms warrant in Barton Hill.

The matter was mentioned in the newspaper but there was no follow-up and regular complaints followed from Maddocks.

Police scrutiny of Maddocks’ land telephone line had found that he made some 60 calls to Stan, though only 28 were the subject of the charge.

Stephen Mooney, in mitigation for Maddocks, said comments made by his client were “foul, abusive and offensive” made over a period of time. Yet although there were 28 calls, only three could be considered as being of a racially aggravated nature.

He said: “Though the offences are very upsetting indeed, Mr Maddocks wanted to express his anger and frustration that though the Bristol Evening Post appeared to be willing to take calls, they would not take any of Mr Maddocks’ calls. He felt he had a genuine complaint against the police.”

“After being remanded in custody he has had a chance to reflect on the consequences of his actions to the complainant, the complainant’s family and his own family and he doesn’t wish them to see him before the court for using this language.”

Judge John Foley adjourned the case until September 1 for a pre-sentence report to be prepared and remanded Maddocks in custody.

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