Ex-magistrate and son cleared of racist assault during 'raid' on home

Nigel and Cindi Stringer

Nigel Stringer and his wife Cindi told court they saw men they believed were armed in the grounds of their home in Morningthorpe. - Credit: Archant

A former Norfolk magistrate and his son have been cleared of racially assaulting a man who turned up at the family home with three friends to claim property belonging to him.

Nigel Stringer, 71, and Rowan Stringer, 26, were found not guilty of four charges including racially aggravated assault at Ipswich Crown Court on Tuesday.

It was the third time the pair had gone on trial accused of attacking former tenant Anthony Munatswa in January 2018 when he visited the family home, the 40-room Boyland Hall in Morningthorpe, near Long Stratton.

Boyland Hall in Morningthorpe, home of Nigel Stringer. Mr Stringer has denied launching a racist att

Boyland Hall in Morningthorpe, home of Nigel Stringer. Mr Stringer has denied launching a racist attack against a former tenant. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

Both father and son had denied the charge and said they had believed they were under attack and had acted in self defence. 

A jury took less than a day to find both not guilty of charges of actual bodily harm, racially aggravated harassment, and assault by beating.

The court had heard that Mr Munatswa had rented a property from Nigel Stringer on Riverside Road in Norwich between 2014 and 2016, and had left some belongings with him after moving out.

On 14 January 2018 Mr Munatswa went to his former landlord's 11-acre property to retrieve items he claimed were worth £10,000, including 72 pairs of expensive trainers.

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He admitted climbing over a locked gate to enter the grounds.

Nigel Stringer resigned as a magistrate after the incident in 2018.

Nigel Stringer resigned as a magistrate after the incident in 2018. - Credit: Archant

Giving evidence Nigel Stringer claimed his former tenant had made “chillingly serious" threats. 

“He said 'my family is going to show your family what we do to families like you in my country. The big white man in the big house. You don’t know what I’m capable of',” he told the court. 

Mr Stringer said he had felt "absolute horror" when he received a message saying Mr Munatswa was heading to his home.

After seeing car headlights at the property’s gates he said he warned his wife Cindi, daughter Rebecca and Rowan and his girlfriend: “I think we are about to be raided, I think we are in trouble.”

Riverside Road in Norwich

The property owned by Nigel Stringer on Riverside Road in Norwich where Anthony Munatswa was a tenant. - Credit: Archant

After a scuffle, Mr Stringer admitted he had struck his former tenant with a hockey stick after his son warned he thought he had a gun.

He admitted he had used a racial slur but said he had been using his voice “as a weapon” and denied being racist.

Rowan Stringer denied using the n-word and told the court he had acted because he believed all four men had entered the property’s grounds while armed in a "serious and planned attack".