Reduced to tears by racial abuse in waiting room

A SUICIDAL woman subjected a Muslim mother and her ill son to more than three hours of racist abuse in a hospital waiting room, a court heard.

Tracy Killeen, 50, of Horsa Close, Eastbourne hurled racial slurs at Rene Rafferty, wearing a head scarf, and her young son in A&E at the Eastbourne District General Hospital on January 20.

Killeen, who was in hospital after slashing her wrists, had been drinking and started muttering racist remarks to her friend after Ms Rafferty, a converted Muslim, arrived at 3pm. Ms Rafferty’s two sisters, mother and her mother’s boyfriend arrived at A&E later and Killeen’s racist onslaught escalated.

Killeen – who pleaded guilty to racially aggravated harassment at Eastbourne Magistrates’ Court on February 1 – wrapped the blanket she was wearing around her head and asked Ms Rafferty if she could speak English.

In a statement read out to the court Ms Rafferty said, “I would like to add this situation has distressed and upset not only me, but my family. But especially my sister who is black.

“She was in tears and upset about it.”

Ms Rafferty waited with her son for more than three hours before calling the police. As Killeen was led away by police officers she shouted ‘born and bred British’.

John Mullaney, defending, said Killeen has a history of psychological illness and could not remember what had happened but accepted witness accounts.

Mr Mullaney said, “It’s a case which causes Ms Killeen a great deal of remorse. She cannot believe she behaved in the way she did. She’s totally remorseful.

“She was quite patently in a strange and abnormal state of mind.”

Killeen was released on unconditional bail while probation carried out a full report.

She will return to Eastbourne Magistrates’ Court on February 22.