Jail for man who sprayed swastikas and racist graffiti on Elgin Mosque
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A MAN who sprayed racist graffiti on Elgin Mosque has been jailed for 14 months.
Mark Macpherson (44) admitted using black and red paint to draw swastikas and daub offensive language on the building on South Street on May 20, 2019.
Macpherson wrote "Ala is a pedo" alongside his series of swastikas.
Sentencing him, Sheriff Sara Matheson said: "The north of Scotland has a long history of tolerance between religions and is friendly and welcoming to all.
"This act seriously offends against that and displays ignorance and hate which has no place in our society.
"Any racial prejudice will be treated very seriously by the court."
Fiscal depute Robert Weir told Inverness Sheriff Court that the chairman of Elgin Mosque, Lansana Bangura, had locked the building after prayers in the early morning of May 20.
Mr Weir added: "Later that night, a witness was walking outside the mosque and heard a noise similar to an aerosol can being sprayed and saw a man wearing a black hooded jacket with the hood down, painting a black swastika symbol directly on to a window.
"He then circled the symbol with red spray paint and sprayed black paint directly over the Elgin Mosque plaque fixed to the wall near the entrance door.
"A number of police units and it was obvious to them that it had been targeted with black swastikas sprayed on windows and walls and 'pedo' and 'Ala is a peado' sprayed on the walls with red spray paint.
"Subsequent enquiries identified the accused responsible from CCTV nearby."
Defence solicitor Stephen Carty said his client "had a heavy addiction to alcohol and drugs, was taking street valium and his life was in freefall".
Mr Carty added: "What we have here is drunken, foolish and abusive behaviour which is a matter of great shame to him.
"He does not hold these views."
Macpherson had been due to stand trial before a jury beginning on Monday, but failed to turn up.
A warrant was granted for his arrest, but he handed himself in to police on Monday night and appeared from custody.