Racist graffiti man who sprayed 'EDL' on Blackburn properties walks free

Blackburn Citizen: 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.

Blackburn Citizen:

“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.

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