A VANDAL who scrawled graffiti on some of York’s most historic landmarks has been jailed for the second time.
York Minster, Clifford’s Tower and York Crown Court had to spend £5,400 between them to remove the words, symbols and phrases scrawled on their walls by Adam James Blythe on four separate days in March, Selby magistrates heard.
They included a cross with Blythe’s initials inside and the words “crucified martyr” “patch” and “monsoon” on York Crown Court; “blythdon” “decraved, depraved” “mind farmed” “robbed” and “it’s my life” among others on Clifford’s Tower; and “google blythdon bent cops” on the Statue of Constantine, outside York Minster.
It was the second time Blythe had vandalised the city’s landmarks. Last August, he was jailed for nine weeks for defacing York Minster, Clifford’s Tower and York Observatory.
Jailing him for four months for the March attacks, district judge Roger Elsey told Blythe: “Given the worldwide significance of the historic sites you damaged with graffiti, I am satisfied the offences were so serious only a custodial sentence is appropriate.”
Blythe’s solicitor Andrew Craven said Blythe acted as he did because he held a particular “view”.
He said: “It is not, obviously, a mainstream viewpoint, but it is deeply held by him. He believes sincerely he is doing this for the benefit of what can only be described as society in general.”
Blythe denies that he has mental health issues, but the district judge heard York mental health team were concerned he had not been assessed on a psychiatric basis before being interviewed by police earlier this year.
Last August, Nicholas Darwin, representing Blythe said his client was convinced cancer was the result of babies receiving brain implants.
Blythe, 31, no fixed address, denied five charges of criminal damage, but was convicted after a trial at Selby Magistrates Court.
Rebecca Brown, prosecuting, said CCTV video showed Blythe spraying words in black paint on Clifford’s Tower on March 30. Police arrested him at the scene and he told them: “I was the one who did it before.”
He was on bail at the time for vandalising Clifford’s Tower and York Crown Court. When arrested, he had a black spray paint can on him. A green spray paint can had been found on him when he was arrested on March 11, the day green graffiti was discovered on the Statue of Constantine.
Blythe did not give evidence and Mr Craven urged the district judge to declare him not guilty on the grounds the prosecution had not proved its case against him.
There were no witnesses and the police had not scientifically checked the paint cans to link them to the graffiti among other reasons, he said.
A spokesman for English Heritage, which is responsible for Clifford’s Tower, said: “We’re pleased the vandalism at Clifford’s Tower has been taken seriously and recognised as a crime. We hope this conviction will discourage others from damaging heritage that belongs to us all.”
Little choice in graffiti jailing
THE man responsible for defacing some of York’s most historic buildings with ugly graffiti has been jailed for a second time.
Homeless Adam James Blythe was convicted of scrawling graffiti on York Minster, Clifford’s Tower and York Crown Court.
Jailing him for four months, district judge Roger Elsey told Blythe: “Given the worldwide significance of the historic sites you damaged with graffiti, I am satisfied the offences were so serious only a custodial sentence is appropriate.”
Blythe is clearly a man with problems. In August, he was jailed for nine weeks for earlier graffiti attacks on York Minster, Clifford’s Tower and York Observatory.
He denies that he has mental health issues, but Judge Elsey heard that the York mental health team were concerned he was not assessed psychiatrically before being interviewed by police earlier this year.
This case is a sad one. It is probably right that this man should be locked up for what he did. Yet a jail sentence is clearly no answer to his deeper problems. And because Blythe has already spent nearly two months on remand, he is likely to be released in a few weeks.
But at least, by taking this action, the judge sent out a clear signal that this kind of vandalism will not be tolerated. It is hard to know what else he could have done.