Fam­ily’s anger at 18-month jail term handed to van­dal

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by Thom Mor­ris tmor­ris@thek­m­group.co.uk

A GRAF­FITI artist whose tag­ging crimes caught up with him has been jailed for 18 months.

Friends and fam­ily have voice their dis­gust at the sen­tence on 25-year-old Tom Stan­ley of Sil­ver Hill, Ten­ter- den, who caused more than £52,000 dam­age to trains and sta­tions in­clud­ing Ash­ford and Folke­stone.

The last count of van­dal­ism dated back to Septem­ber 2008.

In a state­ment re­leased by his par­ents they said they were in “shock” over the jail term and said the stu­dent had turned his life around.

“In the two years since Tom was ar­rested he has worked with lo­cal youth agen­cies to pro­mote the pos­i­tive side of this pop­u­lar form of art­work,” they said.

“He has worked with lo­cal and na­tional tele­vi­sion com­pa­nies de­vel­op­ing graf­fiti re­lated lo­gos and art­work. His tal­ents have been used by sev­eral lo­cal busi­nesses for dis­play pur­poses.

“Tom is a good, tal­ented, friendly young man who has learned from his er­ror of judg­ment.”

Stan­ley was just three weeks away from grad­u­at­ing from the Uni­ver­sity for the Cre­ative Arts in Maid­stone when he was sent to jail on April 28.

He was study­ing on a graphic de­sign course and had pre­vi­ously worked with chil­dren, em­ployed by Maid­stone coun­cil, to get them in­ter­ested in art.

He also took part in a graf­fiti art ex­hi­bi­tion at the Royal Al­bert Hall last year.

The judge at Maid­stone Crown Court branded Stan­ley, whose par­ents are both teach­ers in Ash­ford, as an “un­re­pen­tant graf­fiti van­dal” caus­ing dis­rup­tion to trains and pas­sen­gers and a pos­si­ble hike in fares.

It was ironic, he con­tin­ued, that the 25-year-old was seek­ing to dis­suade young peo­ple from the sort of be­hav­iour he had in­dulged in.

A cam­paign has now been launched on so­cial net­work­ing site Face­book, gain­ing more than 2,180 sup­port­ers.

Stan­ley’s brother Matt said on the so­cial net­work­ing site: “We know Tom was found guilty but he has spent the last few years do­ing loads of work with the lo­cal com­mu­nity and as the num­bers in this group show, he’s a good guy and has a lot of sup­port from the com­mu­nity.

“I’m sure Tom will be thrilled to hear about all the sup­port he has and it’ll be great for keep­ing his spir­its up as the ex­pe­ri­ence is ob­vi­ously very up­set­ting for him.”

Stan­ley de­nied 12 charges of dam­ag­ing prop­erty but was con­victed by all 12 ju­rors. He de­clined to go into the wit­ness box to give ev­i­dence.

Judge An­drew Pa­tience QC told him: “You are un­doubt­edly a highly tal­ented artist and can work well, as ref­er­ences from your uni­ver­sity show.”

But he added he had to pass an im­me­di­ate prison sen­tence be­cause of lengthy pe­riod of the of­fences and the value of the dam­age.

Pic­ture: Matthew Read­ing PD1606037

Tom Stan­ley passes on some tips at a com­mu­nity fun day in Maid­stone last year

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