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Cars are cleaned up after the graffiti attacks last November, by Ethan Hesketh

Cars are cleaned up after the graffiti attacks last November, by Ethan Hesketh

A FATHER-of-one who sprayed racist graffiti in Blackburn has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Ethan Hesketh, 24, covered property in a predominantly Asian area of the town with the letters ‘EDL’ and other offensive language.

The court heard how the defendant, formerly of Blackburn, but now living in Derby Square, Preston, also damaged 11 cars and stonework in Shear Brow and a sign belonging to Abbeydale Vets.

He pleaded guilty to five counts of racially aggravated criminal damage and nine further counts of criminal damage.

Sentencing him to 35 weeks in prison, suspended for two years, Judge Stuart Baker, sitting at Preston Crown Court, said the damage would have caused the victims ‘annoyance and inconvenience’.

He told Hesketh: “You were motivated by some antipathy towards people who are not British.

“You have brought this on yourself.

“These are serious offences because you left so many victims no doubt feeling thoroughly annoyed.”

And the judge asked Hesketh, who claimed he had almost given up drinking alcohol since causing the damage, if he was trying to make a statement by wearing a T shirt with the slogan ‘Let’s Get Smashed’ in court.

Hesketh replied: “I was in a rush this morning.”

As well as the suspended sentence, Hesketh must go back to the court periodically to make sure he is making progress, must attend a thinking skills course and pay £350 prosecution costs.

He will also be electronically tagged with a curfew from 8pm to 6am.

Defending, Amanda Johnson said Hesketh now had a job and was involved in looking after his two-year-old daughter.

She said: “He has no desire at all to go back to Blackburn. He has severed entirely contact with his previous crowd.

“No doubt having now had a couple of months of abstinence from illegal substances and, to a large extent, alcohol, he looks back and can see what were the negative influences in his life.

“He acknowledges that these offences are serious and wishes me to convey his remorse to the court.”

Nicola Riley, of East Park Road, Blackburn, was also charged in connection with the graffiti. No evidence was offered in her case and not guilty verdicts were entered.

This is Lancashire

A MEMBER of a far-right group nailed a copy of the Koran to a proposed Muslim education centre.

Graham French, 28, also sprayed EDL, which stands for English Defence League, on the former Melrose Arms in Shotton Colliery, in December.

It was after planning permission for a change of use, which has caused controversy, was granted.

French, of Dene Crescent, Shotton Colliery, admitted racial or religious aggravated criminal damage to the wall of a multi-faith centre.

He was given a community order with six months supervision at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court plus a one-month tagged curfew between 10.30pm and 7am.

Sunderland Echo

Melrose Arms, Office Row, Front Street, Shotton Colliery. There are proposals for it to become as Muslim education centre.

Melrose Arms, Office Row, Front Street, Shotton Colliery. There are proposals for it to become as Muslim education centre.

A MEMBER of a far-right group nailed a copy of the Koran onto a pub which is due to be transformed into a Muslim education centre.

Graham French also wrote “EDL” on the wall of former Melrose Arms in Shotton Colliery – which has been the centre of demonstrations by the English Defence League in the village, after planning permission to change the use of the building was granted.

Since buying the property, local businessman Kaiser Javeed Choudry has been a repeat victim of crime, Peterlee Magistrates’ Court heard.

Prosecutor Vicky Wilson said there had been great opposition to the plans and Mr Choudry’s property had been targeted with spray paint and windows had been smashed.

Ms Wilson said on December 14, EDL had been daubed twice in white paint on the building, causing £500 of damage, and an open Koran had been nailed onto a wooden board covering a window.

She added: “Police took the Koran for forensic analysis and found several links to the defendant, including a palm print on the page.”

She told the court that information on Facebook showed French, of Dene Crescent, Shotton, is a member of a group called the Shotton Defence League.

When French was arrested, he said it was a “revenge attack” after he was followed home from the pub one day by a female wearing a Burka. A statement from Mr Choudry said: “The whole situation has got me upset.

“We are trying to improve the building and make the area better.”

French pleaded guilty to causing racially or religiously-aggravated criminal damage.

Jaxon Taylor, defending, said the damage involved “a small amount of graffiti” and disputed that it could have cost £500 to fix.

The case was adjourned until February 12 for a report to be prepared about French.

Chairman of the bench, David Carr, said: “Not only is the daubing of the words racially aggravated, but the nailing of the Koran to the wall makes it even worse.”

French was bailed on the condition that he does not contact Mr Choudry.

Sunderland Echo

A 21-year-old man who scrawled “Lee Rigby’s killers should hang”, on the RAF Bomber Command War Memorial in London has been jailed for 12 weeks.

Daniel Smith admitted causing two counts of criminal damage on June 5, at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

Smith, from Grecian Street North, Salford, Greater Manchester, said he did not realise it was a war memorial.

District Judge Quentin Purdy told him: “There are those who are deeply offended by what you chose to do.”

He added some people would “wish you considerable ill, I am sure, simply because you chose to do it”.

‘Appalling act’

Smith’s defence counsel, Colleen Gildernew, told an earlier hearing he was “disgusted with himself” over the act.

He had also daubed “EDL” and a swear word on the memorial in Green Park.

Damage to the memorial, created to remember the thousands of RAF crew who lost their lives in World War Two, amounted to £870.

The memorial was vandalised twice in just over a week, following the death of Fusilier Rigby in Woolwich, south east London, on 22 May.

Following the sentencing Baljit Ubhey, CPS London Chief Crown Prosecutor, said: “This was an appalling act of vandalism which defaced the memorial to the thousands of men who lost their lives in the Second World War flying for RAF Bomber Command.

“I hope that this prosecution will serve as a warning that such behaviour will not be tolerated in our city.”

Smith also pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to causing £510 of criminal damage to the wall of a commercial property in Knightsbridge.

Smith has 44 previous convictions, related mainly to shoplifting, the court was told.

BBC News

A man has pleaded guilty to scrawling graffiti about Fusilier Lee Rigby’s murder on the RAF Bomber Command War Memorial.

Daniel James Smith
, 21, of Grecian Street North, Salford, admitted writing “Lee Rigby’s killers should hang” on the memorial in central London on June 5 – a monument he did not realise was a war memorial.

Colleen Gildernew, defending, said: “He had no idea that the war memorial was a war memorial.

“He is very disgusted with himself, even more so because of that.”

Smith also daubed “EDL” and “F*** the police” on the memorial in Green Park, prosecutor Izolda Switala-Gribbin said.

Smith was planning on going to Fusilier Rigby’s funeral but was arrested and could not go, Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard.

Ms Gildernew said Smith had applied for a job in the British Army but was unsuccessful “because of his convictions as a young boy”.

The court heard Smith has 44 convictions and has appeared in different courts five times this year.

Ms Gildernew said the experiences of Smith’s two army friends – one who has lost both legs and another who suffers from memory loss as the result of a bomb – had an “emotional impact on him”.

The damage to the memorial, which was created to remember the thousands of RAF crew who lost their lives in the Second World War, amounted to £870.

The memorial was vandalised twice in just over a week following the murder of Fusilier Rigby in Woolwich, south east London, on May 22.

District Judge Quentin Purdy described the content of the graffiti inflicted on June 5 by Smith, and its location, as “highly emotive”.

He added that Smith’s actions clearly challenged the “tolerance we all seek to see in society”.

Mr Purdy said people will want to know what the court is doing about people, “brains in gear or not”, who inflict such damage.

The judge said he was prepared to explore all “reasonable options” for Smith moving on rather than being sent back into custody.

But he said a custodial sentence was a possibility, adding “there may be no alternative”.

Mr Purdy told Smith his punishment should “reflect the public’s concern about your criminal conduct”.

He told the 21-year-old his actions “caused offence to many”.

The court was told that Smith has spent the past 11 weeks in Feltham Young Offenders’ Institution and was released only yesterday.

Mr Purdy said it was “slightly worrying” that Smith was released with few arrangements in place.

Smith’s previous convictions relate mainly to shoplifting, Ms Gildernew told the court.

She said he was brought up by his grandmother and had little in terms of family support, describing his childhood as “unsettled”.

The court heard that he left school at the age of 15 with no qualifications, battled cannabis addiction in his teenage years and struggled with homelessness.

Ms Gildernew said Smith, dressed in a colourful T-shirt, was “shaking and very tearful” before the hearing.

Smith also pleaded guilty to causing £510 of criminal damage to a wall of a commercial property in Knightsbridge.

Mr Purdy remanded Smith in custody and adjourned sentencing until Tuesday November 5 at the same court pending further inquiries into suitable arrangements for him.

Cambridge News

Georgina Gontar, 20, of Old Woking, pleaded guilty to a breach of an Asbo, four offences of racially aggravated criminal damage and two of causing criminal damage when she appeared at Guildford Magistrates’ Court last Wednesday (April 17).

The graffiti, including the the name “Bin Laden” and the letters “EDL”, was daubed inside a shop at Lion Retail Park, on a wall in view of the Shah Jahan Mosque in Oriental Road and outside properties in Walton Road on November 12 last year.

For the Asbo breach and racially aggravated criminal damage, Gontar received a custodial sentence of 10 weeks, suspended for 12 months.

For the criminal damage she received a custodial sentence of seven weeks, suspended for 12 months, to run concurrently with the first term.

During the 12-month period, Gontar has a supervisory order in place and she is required to participate in a diversity awareness and prejudice programme.

The magistrates also ordered Gontar to pay compensation of £650 to the James Walker Group, £40 to Hobbycraft and £20 to Unit 18 Boundary Way at the hearing.

She was jointly charged with 19-year-old Laura Woodward of Addlestone.

Get Surrey

Woking People

Laura Woodward, A teenager spray-painted racist graffiti near a mosque and daubed the names Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden on flats during a booze-fuelled spree.

Laura Woodward, 19 of Byron Road, Addlestone, admitted four counts of racially and religious aggravated criminal damage and two of criminal damage.

Woodward, appearing before Guildford magistrates last Thursday, also admitted racially aggravated damage to the front door of an Asian man whom she knew.

Nick Wilson, prosecuting, told the court that Woodward and another girl bought spray paint from Hobbycraft in Woking on November 12 last year when they “commenced these acts of criminal damage”.

The court was told that Woodward sprayed her name and either the number four or a cross in the ladies’ cloakroom at Hobbycraft.

The pair then headed towards the Shah Jahan Mosque, where they painted racist words on a nearby wall in Oriental Road, mis-spelling England as they did so.

It cost almost £1,000 to remove the offensive material.

The public wall of the car park belonging to the same company was also sullied with racist graffiti, which the court heard will cost £344 to put right.

A silver Seat Alhambra car was vandalised with pink spray paint, costing the owner £15 to wash off.

The names Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were daubed on the public wall of Walton Court flats and the letters EDL – an acronym for the English Defence League – were scrawled across the public wall and windows of business units 14 and 18 Boundary Way.

Nick Wilson, prosecuting, said the additional charge was in relation to graffiti on the Asian man’s house door.

“He treated her as his first girlfriend,” Mr Wilson said.

“He went to work and came home to find his house had been treated in this way. They were friends and this is what she did.”

The court heard that it would cost £1,500 for a new door.

Chris McGlinchey, defending, said: “She was, as you may have gathered, substantially drunk.

“The bulk of her offences were when she was using drink.”

Mr McGlinchey added: “She fully accepts that these offences will have caused a great deal of offence and she has developed a degree of empathy as a result.

“She is now in work and it is fair to say she has taken steps on her own part to reduce her drinking. She has asked me to make an apology on her behalf, which you may take with a pinch of salt but the apology is heartfelt.

“She has engaged with people of that community since. She does not see herself as being a racist.”

District Judge Workman said he had considered sending Woodward to a young offenders’ institution but instead decided on a community order.

He warned her: “I must make it clear – if you break the order, that is where you are going to end up.”

Woodward was sentenced to a 12-month community order plus 100 hours of unpaid work.

She must also pay damages of £100 to the mosque and £400 for the damaged door.

District Judge Workman said: “The unpaid work is to at least give something back to the community.

“All graffiti is offensive but when it is racially aggravated, it is particularly offensive.”

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