Teenager who daubed Welsh Windrush memorial with Nazi symbols faces jail
A teenager who daubed a Welsh Windrush mural with Nazi symbols after being radicalised online is facing jail.
The 17-year-old, who cannot legally be named due to his age, is charged with five terror offences.
He possessed a banned publication which includes “pro-violence, pro-antisemitism, misogynist, homophobic ideologies” and disseminated them to another teenager, Cardiff Youth Court was told.
The manual describes bombmaking, derailing trains, attacking power lines and kidnapping police officers, as well as glorifying notorious mass murderers.
The teenager, described in court as “intelligent” and “intellectual” with a desire to go to university, also possessed and disseminated another manual with “step-by-step” instructions on gun-making.
The teenager also faces two counts of racially aggravated criminal damage relating to graffiti that appeared on a mural in Port Talbot which celebrates the town’s Caribbean community, on October 27 and November 5 last year.
Community members were shaken after several swastikas, the phrase “Nazi zone”, white supremacist symbol “1488” and a racial slur were painted on the mural hours after it was completed.
The mural depicts Donna Campbell, a much-loved nurse and daughter of the Windrush generation who died during the pandemic, and her mother Lydia, known as Mrs Campbell in her community, with a merged image of a Welsh dragon and the Jamaican flag.
He also faces one further charge of criminal damage after he damaged a floor at The Queer Emporium in Cardiff on October 31 last year.
He admitted all eight charges at an earlier hearing in June.
His barrister David Elias KC asked for him to be spared prison and instead be given a youth referral order, which would require him to meet a panel of people to help him address his behaviour and sign a contract pledging to do the things listed in it.
He said his client is “vulnerable”, has autism and a personality disorder, and spent “increasingly long hours online” during the pandemic.
He added: “He often feels he doesn’t fit in with his peers, which has a huge impact on his self-esteem, and very much wants to have friends and positive aspirations for the future.”
When Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring asked the defendant about what he had been watching online, he said: “You can see in the videos the arguments are not very deep. They are very banal.
“They are not what I truly believe, they are not what I believe now.”
The judge later told him: “On any view of the seriousness of the offending itself, the custody threshold has been crossed.
“The scope and scale of the offending, including those which might seem relatively minor by comparison, the criminal damage to murals, are not only abhorrent but also extremely serious.
“If you were in an adult court we would be talking about years, not months in custody.
“I am not persuaded that I ought to pass a youth referral order and that I can completely rule out a custodial sentence of more than 12 months.
“I am going to commit this case to the Crown Court where the judge will have a complete blank canvas.”
He said a Crown Court judge may impose a longer youth referral order that lasts longer than a year, which he does not have the power to do.
The teenager will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on September 4.
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