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Man pleads guilty to assault on George Galloway

    A Jewish carer has admitted punching and kicking George Galloway, leaving him with a broken rib.

    Neil Masterson pleaded guilty to causing the Respect MP actual bodily harm, at a hearing at Isleworth Crown Court today.

    A charge of religiously aggravated assault against him was dropped.

    A former civil servant and BBC manager, Masterson , 39, ran at Mr Galloway while the MP posed for pictures with two members of the public in Notting Hill, west London on August 29.

    Masterson, who converted to Judaism, punched the MP repeatedly and then kicked him in the face after he was knocked to the ground.

    Masterson then pushed away another man who tried to intervene.

    Mr Galloway spent a night in St Mary's Hospital Paddington following the attack.

    During an earlier hearing in September, prosecutor Douglas Adams quoted Masterson as saying he "carried out the attack because he felt the victim was an enemy of Judaism".

    Mr Douglas said that Masterson told the police: "I didn't want him to think I'm scared, Galloway is antisemitic and I am Jewish."

    But at today’s hearing, prosecutors decided there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a charge of religiously aggravated assault.

    Instead Masterson was re-arraigned on a new charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm against Mr Galloway, to which he pleaded guilty.

    Prosecuting lawyer Michelle Nelson told the court: "We have decided the religious aggravation element is borderline, very borderline, and we don't wish to proceed with this charge. We will be offering no evidence."

    Dressed in a black T-shirt with a poppy pinned on it, Masterson stood calmly in the dock as he was told by Judge Aidan Marron he would not face trial.

    He was remanded in custody until December 5 when he will be sentenced.

    Masterson, of Campden Hill, Kensington, is a full-time carer for a woman who suffers from Crohn’s disease.

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