Kevin McAnallen, 53, was alleged to have called Baron Paddick a ‘f**ing faggot’ after he and his husband, Petter Belsvick, crossed the road
A taxi driver accused of shouting homophobic abuse at Baron Brian Paddick has been cleared in court after claiming the retired police chief called him fat.
Kevin McAnallen, 53, was alleged to have called the Lib Dem a ‘f**ing faggot’ after the member of the life peer and his husband, Petter Belsvick, crossed the road in front of his black cab.
Lord Paddick, 57, claimed Mr McAnallen, who has been a black taxi driver for 24 years, slammed on the brakes and said: “Why don’t you look where you are going?”
The life peer, who took the title Baron Paddick in October 2013, allegedly replied: “Why don’t you show more patience?”
He told magistrates when he and his husband of seven years walked away, the taxi driver pulled up a few yards away and shouted: “You f**ing faggot.”
But Mr McAnallen was cleared of a public order offence at Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court after insisting he simply told the failed London Mayoral candidate: “F*** off you mug.”
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Mr McAnallen claimed he reacted to an insult from Baron Paddick, who retired from the Met Police as Deputy Assistant Commissioner in 2007.
“He came up to me and got very aggressive, but said ‘why don’t you f*** off you fat c***,” said the taxi driver.
“I was very upset by this. I had just undergone surgery. My weight has been an issue for all my life.”
The court heard how the argument happened outside the Stage Door pub, next to the Old Vic theatre in Waterloo, on July 3 last year as the couple tried to cross Gray Street.
Giving evidence Baron Paddick said: “I was a bit upset with the original argument but when he shouted those words I was very upset.
“I haven’t experienced homophobic abuse like that for years to be honest.
“I wanted to make sure I could remember the registration of the taxi to identify it after so I ran after the cab.
“Luckily it got stuck at a red traffic light so I managed to take a photo before it drove off.
“I found the whole thing very distressing. I am even wary now when hailing black cabs for fear I might get similar abuse.
“People whose are not gay do not realise the effect both at this sort of behaviour has on people like me. I am pretty fit still.
“I’m very concerned that this sort of driving and behaviour might be repeated towards people who are less in form so I think it is my duty, perhaps it is the police officer in me, just to suggest that people calm down in these situations.”
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The panel of three magistrates were saw CCTV footage from Gray Street, which showed two men step out into the road before the taxi came to a halt.
The footage then shows Baron Paddick walking up to the car, as his partner waited on the sidelines before walking him away.
Mr Belsvick, a civil engineer from Oslo, Norway, also gave evidence to support his husband’s account.
He said: “I am 44 years old, I have lived my whole adult life as gay and I have never experienced being targeted because of it.”
But defending Mr McAnallen, Carina Clare claimed that in fact Lord Paddick had been aggressive towards the driver, calling him a “fat c***” and telling him to “go home and have a heart attack and die”.
McAnallen, who was making his way home at the end of his shift, admitted that he told Lord Paddick to “f*** off you mug” but denied using the word ‘faggot’.
He added: “I didn’t mean nothing, I just retaliated. I just wanted him to go away and finish the situation.
“I just wanted to go home.”
Chair of the bench Steve Roberts said: “We need to be sure you used threatening, abusive or insulting words with the intention of causing alarm or distress, and that these words did cause alarm or distress.
“We found many inconsistencies were found with all three witnesses.
“We could not be sure what words were used.
“We are satisfied it was a two way argument, that some behaviours were aggressive.
“We cannot be sure that whatever you did use fulfilled the requirements.”