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Vandal professor with impeccable manners facing a 28,000 bill after scratching graffiti on his neighbours' carsStephen Graham, 47, went on half-naked rampage after downing ginScratched words such as 'arbitrary', 'wrong' and 'silly' onto 4x4sHas vague memory of walking down the street in a dream-like state
17:22 GMT, 1 March 2013
00:05 GMT, 2 March 2013
Remorse: Stephen Graham scratched graffiti on 27 vehicles
A professor with a hatred of 4×4 cars scratched graffiti on vehicles in his upmarket neighbourhood, a court heard yesterday.
Stephen Graham, 48, used a screwdriver to write words such as ‘arbitrary’, ‘wrong’ and ‘very silly’ on the paintwork while dressed in only underpants and a jacket.
His night-time vandalism, while still wearing a sleeping mask on his forehead, left 27 cars damaged and has landed the professor with a 28,000 compensation bill.
Police were called after a resident heard scratching outside and spotted a figure crouching on the ground. Officers arrested the academic in a nearby street.
Graham blamed the bizarre bank holiday rampage last August on his reaction to a combination of gin and medication.
He was said to be ‘very remorseful and apologetic’ in his police interview.
The professor was sentenced to a nine-month suspended jail term at Newcastle Crown Court yesterday.
He had previously admitted four charges of criminal damage and asked for 23 similar offences to be taken into consideration.
The professor, who specialises in teaching about ‘cities and society’, was said to dislike people living in urban areas who drive ‘Chelsea tractors’ or 4x4s.
Prosecutor Stuart Michie told the court: ‘He said he had a problem with 4×4 vehicles, he thinks they are too large for a town.’
But instead of mindless scratches or foul-mouthed slogans, the well-educated vandal scratched a higher class of graffiti on neighbours’ cars in Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne, using his screwdriver.
Hated of four-wheel drives: The court heard a total of 10 of the cars damaged were 4x4s
Messages: Rather than the usual swear words, Graham chose to scratch mild insults into the cars
Mr Michie said: ‘They all had similar
words such as arbitrary, wrong and silly scratched onto them.
defendant said he had a vague memory of walking down the street in a
dream-like state and damaging one or two cars by scratching words.’
Graham had taken antibiotics for an
infection after he had a tooth removed, and was also taking medication
for a depressive illness.
Mindless vandalism: A screwdriver was used to etch words into the
Scene: Graham was dressed in just underpants and a dress jacket when he went berserk around his plush neighbourhood of Jesmond in Newcastle
He told police that he had also drunk three quarters of a bottle of gin and, having been unable to sleep, must have gone out.
Judge Guy Whiturn QC said he accepted the behaviour was out of character but ordered Graham to pay the full 28,000 cost.
A spokesman for Newcastle University refused to comment on whether the professor could lose his job.