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Newcastle University professor found guilty of polite graffiti

UNIVERSITY professor Stephen Graham has admitted scratching graffiti into some of his neighbours’ luxury cars in a wrecking spree.

Professor Stephen Graham, 47, at Newcastle Magistrates Court

UNIVERSITY professor Stephen Graham has admitted scratching graffiti into some of his neighbours’ luxury cars in a wrecking spree.

Graham caused thousands of pounds of damage by scraping odd messages on to vehicles in the Jesmond area of Newcastle.

The 47-year-old, who is a specialist in cities and urban life at Newcastle University, yesterday pleaded guilty to a series of offences of damaging property.

He used a screwdriver to scratch messages such as “very silly”, “really wrong” and “arbitrary” on to cars on the same night.

At Newcastle Crown Court yesterday, Graham admitted four counts of damaging cars and asked for 23 similar offences to be taken into consideration.

At an earlier hearing, the value of the damage stood at almost £18,000, but prosecutors were asked to provide an up-to-date bill at the next hearing

The cars which were damaged on the night included a Mercedes, an Audi, a Volvo and a Mitsubishi.

The spree took place in August last year when residents of Northumberland Gardens woke up to find the polite phrases etched into the paintwork of their cars.

Graham, who lives on nearby Lansdowne Gardens, was later arrested and charged with the offences.

The professor – who is based at Newcastle University’s school of architecture, planning and landscape – previously blamed a bad reaction to alcohol, antibiotics and prescription drugs for his behaviour and said he could not remember what happened.

Julian Smith, defending, said: “He has no recollection of the course of events that night.”

A graduate of Southampton University, he has previously held lecturing positions at Durham University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Judge James Gos QC said Graham would be sentenced next month to give time for pre-sentence reports to be compiled.

The judge told him: “I’m adjourning sentence until the week of February 25 to enable a pre-sentence report to be prepared and a valuation of the damage to be obtained.

“Bail is renewed, but I’m not giving any indication as to what the sentence will be. There’s a good deal of information that needs to be considered first.”

 

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