Man convicted of smashing graves

A CONVICT has been jailed for causing over GBP100,000 worth of damage to gravestones during a cemetery wrecking spree.

Twisted Jason Griffiths targeted the graves of prison officers and laughed upon arrest boasting ‘how sick am I’, a court heard.

A 40-year-old Reading man has been convicted of causing up to £100,000 worth of damage at a Black Country cemetery.

A judge told Wolverhampton Crown Court Griffiths destroyed 30 headstones in total at Thimblemill Lane Cemetery, in Smethwick, West Midlands, and was ‘obsessed’ with smashing graves.

The court heard how the 40-year-old brought “enormous” hurt to the families who had erected the gravestones including one belonging to a baby.

At his first hearing back in March, Griffiths was heckled in court by furious mourners after smirking in the dock.

He was confronted by a 20-strong group of angry mourners whose relatives’ graves had been damaged at Warley Magistrates who shouted, “Scum”, and “Watch your back”  from the public gallery.

Yesterday/on Monday he was sentenced to four years in prison.

Sentencing Griffiths, Judge John Warner said: “This was not just a random act of vandalism.

“It was clearly premeditated, deliberate and planned.”

Griffiths, from Oxford, who had downed a cocktail of heroin and alcohol before the wrecking spree, was picked up by officers after he left a rucksack in the graveyard that contained a number of personal letters.

He admitted causing criminal damage. Mark Rees, prosecuting, said police also found his fingerprints and footprints on the smashed graves.

He told the court that Griffiths destroyed up to 30 headstones in the cemetery after he had been released on licence from prison in Oxfordshire.

Mr Rees said Griffiths had written a letter to one prison officer in Birmingham’s Winson Green Prison, making a reference to smashing the graves of men employed in the Prison service.

Then, when he was being transported by police after his arrest, Griffiths said he had damaged the gravestones of dead prison officers adding: “How sick am I?
Ha! Ha! Ha!. I am getting to you guys.”

The Judge ruled only a substantial sentence was appropriate for such a serious crime.

Tim Harrington, defending, said Griffiths accepted there was no excuse for his behaviour adding: “He did not realise the distress, anxiety or hurt he was causing. He wants to apologise for what was appalling offending.”

June Hanley attended court after discovering the GBP10,000 marble headstone for her late husband Brian had been completely smashed beyond repair.

June, 67, from Smethwick, West Mids, said: “It was very difficult coming here today – but I used to go to Brian’s grave every day for the past four years until this happened.”

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