Friday 22 November 2019

Professor quizzed on car vandalism

A Newcastle University professor was arrested by police investigating the scratching of words on cars
A Newcastle University professor was arrested by police investigating the scratching of words on cars

A university professor has been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage after a number of cars were vandalised.

Professor Stephen Graham, who is employed by Newcastle University, was detained by police investigating the scratching of words on to 24 cars in Northumberland Gardens in Jesmond, Newcastle.

Some of the words included "very silly", "really wrong" and "arbitrary" and had been done with a screwdriver.

Graham, 47, who lives one street away, was questioned by police and later bailed while inquiries continue. Some of the cars damaged on Monday night included a BMW 520, Mercedes SLK and a BMW X5.

Mary Barrett, of Ripon Gardens, found the word "arbitrary" scratched on her silver Mercedes.

She told the Daily Mail: "I felt sick when I saw it, I was close to tears. You work your whole life and you think you will treat yourself to something nice and then something like this happens. I'd only had the car for two months."

On the Newcastle University website, Graham is described as an academic and author who researches cities and urban life. It states he is Professor of Cities and Society at the Global Urban Research Unit and is based in Newcastle University's School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape.

A university spokesman said: "We can confirm that Professor Stephen Graham is employed by Newcastle University, but is currently absent from work. Due to an ongoing police investigation we can say no more."

A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: "At 1.15am (on August 27) a report was received that a male was damaging cars in Northumberland Gardens, Jesmond. Officers attended and reported that 24 cars had sustained damage. Further inquiries revealed that the vehicles were damaged by the offender using a screwdriver to etch words into the bodywork.

"A 47-year-old male has been arrested for criminal damage and subsequently bailed pending further inquiries."

PA Media

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