A 27-year-old man who daubed sectarian graffiti on a Limavady primary school has been jailed for four months and branded a “bigot” by a district judge.
Brendan Lee Nicholson, with an address at Foreglen Road, Dungiven, caused criminal damage to walls and hard surfaced areas at Drumachose PS, on dates unknown between May 23 and 26, 2012.
Limavady Magistrate’s Court heard on Wednesday a number of slogans were scrawled on the property, including Celtic, IRA and FTQ.
The court heard Nicholson was later located with pink paint on his clothing and shoe, and in possession of a bottle of white spirits.
After he was cautioned by police he replied: “IRA Forever”.
The court heard Nicholson denied it was him, saying he must have run through the paint. Nicholson also claimed he was with another male. However, a public prosecutor told the court that the male denied Nicholson’s claim.
The court heard the cost to Limavady Borough Council of cleaning the graffiti was £135.
Defence solicitor Paddy McGurk said Nicholson found himself in a “very, very serious situation”. He said it was “shocking” and that Nicholson “was absolutely and totally ashamed of himself”. Mr. McGurk said for the last 18 months Nicholson, who he said was intoxicated at the time of the offence, had since “held his head in shame”.
Mr. McGurk said when Nicholson was apprehended he was standing by his bike covered from head to toe in paint; and that it was “certainly not a Turner Prize exhibition”.
Mr. McGurk said Nicholson’s actions were “awful”, adding: “They were dreadful”.
District Judge Liam McNally, holding aloft a photo of the graffiti daubed on the wall, said: “That’s the view greeted by children arriving for class”.
Judge McNally told Nicholson: “You may think you are not a bigot”, but said to do what he did, in the dark of night, “quite frankly, you are a bigot”.
Nicholson was sentenced to four months in jail.