A FATHER has been sentenced for religious harassment after a row in a job centre.

Jobless John Sullivan, 46, made the remark to a worker at Southend’s job centre, in Tylers Avenue.

Southend Magistrates’ Court heard how Sullivan had been in the branch in January to sign on.

Sullivan, of The Grove, Southend, has been using the centre on and off for 20 years, the court heard.

He became cross after he was interrupted when speaking to another worker about an incident at the centre the day before.

Prosecuting, Bob Rowlingson said staff heard raised voices, and Sullivan was heard saying to Muslim worker Majid Khan, “people of your culture” and “you should bow down to me”.

Giving evidence, dad-of-three Sullivan denied being racist. He said: “I was angry. I was cross.

“I said to him, ‘why aren’t you bowing down to me?’ He said, ‘What do you mean by that?’ I said, ‘you don’t want to talk to me, you are always avoiding eye contact, you are always looking down’.

“It was a dig at him, but not through his religion.”

Chairman of the bench Peter Hobbs said the comments were “not very nice”, and Sullivan should pay £200 towards costs.

He was given a conditional discharge for 18 months after being found guilty of a religiously-aggravated public order offence.