‘I’m no racist’ says Bognor woman named in councillor’s Manchester blog

Caroline Wilson strongly denies the claims
Caroline Wilson strongly denies the claims

A Bognor grandmother has strongly denied she is a racist after a town councillor named her in a blog about the Manchester terror attack.

Caroline Wilson says she’s now afraid to go out with her young grandchildren after being personally named by Bognor Regis town councillor Jan Cosgrove in his blog titled: ‘Manchester Arena - Nothing to be proud of Caroline Wilson’.

Bognor Town councillor Jan Cosgrove

Bognor Town councillor Jan Cosgrove

Under a picture of Mrs Wilson, cllr Cosgrove writes in his blog about her: “What concerns me is that she may be spreading the divisive and dangerous stuff which has played its part in the growth of racist sentiment, one of whose consequences may well now be seen in Manchester.”

His blog also has a link to her home address which she says makes her afraid to answer the front door.

Responding, Mrs Wilson said: “It’s absolutely disgraceful and it’s just completely untrue.

“He’s put my name, my photo and a link to my address and he’s calling me a racist who has links to racist groups.

“I have never been racist in all my life, I was married to a Malaysian man for seven years for goodness sake and we have a son together.

“I’m not bothered what colour or creed someone is, if they’re straight or gay.

“I feel violated and now I’ve got this fear that I’ll be out with my grandchildren and some nutter will come and attack me.”

Mrs Wilson says she’s contacted the police and has made complaints to both Bognor Town Council and Arun District Council.

In the blog Cllr Cosgrove speaks about far right groups such as Britain First and an English and Proud Facebook group which he says spreads ‘anti-Islam rhetoric’ and makes ‘expressions against immigration and immigrants’.

Cllr Cosgrove accuses Mrs Wilson of ‘carrying the E&P Facebook logo as hers’ and ‘repeating some of the phrases and rhetoric of the E&P page with which she clearly sympathises’.

Mrs Wilson says she does have the words ‘English and Proud’ as her Facebook logo but strongly denies it is in any way linked to far-right activity.

“One of my friends shared it and people were changing their Facebook logos so I did as well, it’s been there for months,” Mrs Wilson said.

“I’m proud of this country but that doesn’t mean I don’t like people from other countries.

“I don’t have a problem with Muslims but like everyone else I have a problem with terrorists.”

Mrs Wilson says she continues to be contacted by people all over the country about the blog.

She said: “I had a stranger from Manchester message me saying she thought the blog was disgusting when everyone there is still grieving.”

Twenty-two people were killed and more than 100 injured when suicide bomber Salman Abedi, 22, blew himself up at the end of an Arianda Grande concert at Manchester Arena on May 22.

Mrs Wilson added: “Like the rest of the world, when I heard about Manchester I was absolutely devastated for the people involved. Young kids went to the concert and lots didn’t come home.

“Then to be named saying ‘it’s nothing to be proud of Caroline Wilson’ is just vile, I just can’t believe an elected councillor would do something like this.

“I’ve never met him before and yet he’s attacking me, he’s just a bully.”

Speaking to the Observer, cllr Cosgrove said: “I don’t have much more to add to what I said in my article.

“On her Facebook page she’s used a symbol of English and Proud which is recognised to have links to Britain First, a far right organisation known for being active in spreading anti-Islamic rhetoric.

“If she doesn’t realise the link then I’d advise her to be extremely careful with associations like this after what happened in Manchester.”

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