This article links to images that are potentially distressing.
A post on Facebook claims that a British soldier was attacked by a “Muslim gang who hates the British armed forces”, and ended up in hospital. It has been shared over 45,000 times.
We’ve seen no evidence that the attack was politically motivated.
It’s correct that the man in question, named Joshua Adams-Mitchell, was a serving member of the British armed forces. It’s also correct that he was “knocked down by a blue Mercedes and seriously injured” outside a nightclub in Batley, West Yorkshire in the early hours of New Year’s Day 2019, according to a police statement.
The police statement also said that the incident followed “an altercation inside the club with a group of males which then proceeded outside the premises”.
However, there is no evidence that Mr Adams-Mitchell was targeted because he was a member of the armed forces. In a West Yorkshire Police statement from January 2019, the Kirklees District Commander, Chief Superintendent Julie Sykes said “this incident is not believed to be racially motivated and there is no evidence to support the victim was targeted due to his service in the army”.
Mr Adams-Mitchell’s attacker, Hamza Ali Hussain, was sentenced in May 2019 to eight years in prison for section 18 wounding (wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm).
According to reports, during Mr Hussain’s sentencing, the judge said:
“There’s no evidence of any dispute you had with Mr Adams-Mitchell, in particular I do not find any political motivation, on the evidence, to have struck him with your car… You missed your intended victim and struck the unfortunate Mr Adams-Mitchell instead.”
Rumours that Mr Adams-Mitchell was attacked because he was a member of the armed forces began shortly after the incident, in early January of this year. The British far-right activist Tommy Robinson shared unproven allegations at the time that Mr Adams-Mitchell was “set upon” by 15 Muslim males who called him scum, before one of the fifteen hit Mr Adams-Mitchell with a car.