Family’s anger at 18-month jail term handed to vandal
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.
Tom Stanley passes on some tips at a community fun day in Maidstone last year