A man who daubed a housing block in London’s Shadwell with homophobic graffiti has been jailed for eight weeks.
Mashudur Rahman, 22, had sprayed anti-gay and racist graffiti around the site seventy times last year before being arrested on 28 September.
The council for Tower Hamlets, which is one of the most deprived boroughs in the country, said it worked in partnership with housing managers EastendHomes and the police to identify Rahman.
He has been given an eight week custodial sentence for nine counts of criminal damage in a sentencing at Thames Magistrates Court.
The council said he had earlier pleaded guilty to the charges in a hearing at Stratford Magistrates Court on 3 February, and was fined £2,000 in costs.
The court also heard a number of witness statements which described the alarm and distress caused by the graffiti, which contained numerous homophobic references.
Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “The council will continue to work with our partners to bring perpetrators of all hate crimes to justice.”
Cllr Ohid Ahmed, Deputy Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “The actions of this man were despicable and condemnable. The messages of hate that he wrote caused considerable hurt and distress to the residents of Gordon House, and it is right that he has now been punished.”
DC Simon Fields, the police investigating officer, said: “Many people were involved in the investigation of this offence, including the local Safer Neighbourhood Team. It is a measure of how seriously we take Hate Crime that the perpetrator was identified and convicted and the sentence sends a clear warning that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated”.
Jack Gilbert, Co-chair of Rainbow Hamlets, the LGBT Forum for Tower Hamlets, said: “We welcome this conviction. In particular we are pleased that the Court recognised that these were offences motivated by hatred of LGBT people and reflected that in its sentence. This sends a clear message: Homophobic crime in Tower Hamlets will not be tolerated.
“Offences like these cause considerable worry and distress to LGBT people and could well encourage others if not addressed swiftly. We are obviously concerned that the incidents took place so frequently and over so long a period. We will be inviting East End Homes, the police and the council to participate in a review of the case to ensure better practices are put in place for the future.”
Last summer, Mohammed Hasnath, 18, also of Tower Hamlets admitted putting up posters in the area declaring it a ‘gay free zone’. He was fined £100 plus £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
When told the allegation against him of a public order offence of using threatening or abusive words or behaviour between 11-14 February, Hasnath reportedly said: “But I just put up stickers, I didn’t harass or swear at anybody or anything.”
Today’s case against Rahman was brought to court after officers from EastendHomes, which manages Gordon House, received reports of the offensive graffiti from residents. Housing managers gathered witness statements and photography before passing the case to Tower Hamlets Council’s Community Safety Service, who compiled video footage and stills of Rahman.
The complete package of evidence was then passed to Shadwell police Safer Neighbourhoods Team, who identified Rahman and progressed prosecution with the Crown Prosecution Service.