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A 55-year-old admitted to spray-painting homophobic hate after he was caught on camera

Reiss Smith September 9, 2019
A still from the CCTV footage showing Parsons holding a can of spray paint

Michael Parsons was caught on camera spray-painting homophobic hate on a woman's garage door. (Northumbria Police)

Michael Parsons, 55, was fined after a CCTV camera caught him daubing anti-LGBT+ abuse on a woman’s garage door.

Police first arrested Parsons after they received reports of anti-LGBT+ slurs being painted on a garage door in Gateshead, near Newcastle on January 16.

Officers identified Parsons from CCTV footage, but he argued that he could not be the man in the video because he had been left on crutches following foot surgery.

The vandal was left red-faced when police confronted him with footage which showed him entering a nearby supermarket with crutches on his arms, but leaving without them.

Cornered, Parsons plead guilty to one count of criminal damage.

Man convicted for homophobic graffiti showed ‘no remorse’

The investigating officer PC Ferenc Szilvasi called Parsons a “prolific criminal” who showed “no remorse” for his harmful actions.

He added that the victim was “very distressed” upon discovering the graffiti.

“This mindless vandalism left the victim with significant damage to her door but it was the nature of the graffiti that was so upsetting,” he said in a statement.

“This type of behaviour is completely unacceptable and I want people to know that we will take action against offenders.”

Parsons was handed a conditional discharge by a judge at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, but was made to pay a £140 fine because of the homophobic nature of the graffiti.

Being you is not a crime and nobody should be targeted for who they are.

“Magistrates ordered Parsons to pay the money he did because this was recorded as a hate crime and I hope that reassures victims,” said Szilvasi.

“Being you is not a crime and nobody should be targeted for who they are. If you have been a victim of hate crime then please get in touch.”

Northumbria Police said that a crime is considered to be a hate crime if the victim has been targeted because of their race, faith, religion, disability, gender identity, age or sexual orientation.

Victims or witnesses of hate crimes should contact the police on 101.

More: Hate crime, Homophobia

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