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Bricklayer sends mixed race family ape greeting card with threatening note

A bricklayer threatened an ex-colleague's mixed race family with a grinning ape greeting card.

Bryan Olliver, 48, has been hit with a community order for posting a 'devastating' card which included a sinister message.

On the front of the card Olliver bought from eBay, is a large picture of a chimpanzee alongside the word ‘selfie’ in red lettering.

When his victim Michael Read whose partner of 20 years is of mixed Jamaican and German heritage, opened the unexpected delivery it became even more chilling.

Inside, creepy newspaper print spelled out the message ‘be off with u’.

In a victim personal statement read to Oxford Magistrates’ Court, Mr Read said: “This has ripped through the family.”

He added: “The impact on the children was and still is devastating, They cannot comprehend or rationalise this.”

The magistrates sentenced Olliver to an 18 month community order with 120 hours of unpaid work and up to 32 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

A restraining order also bans him from contacting his victims for a year and a half and he must pay £870 in costs and surcharge.

Chairman of the bench Deborah Backhaus said: “A line needs to be drawn.

''The restraining order puts a very clear gap – a barrier – between you.”

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During the trial, the justices heard that Mr Read’s partner was ‘devastated’ when the family received the card in late 2019.

Enquiries with the firm, Red Frog Design, found the card was sold from its eBay store on December 10, 2019.

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It was bought using Olliver’s PayPal account and sent to his home in Woodcote, Oxfordshire.

Mitigating, India Ferris said there were elements of the offending her client, who had no previous convictions, still did not accept, but added he ‘must accept he has been convicted and does show a level of remorse’.

Olliver was found guilty of sending malicious communications, assault by beating and common assault.

The magistrates last month did not find that the offences were racially-aggravated.

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