Newcastle professor Stephen Graham to pay for graffiti spree

Stephen Graham A report by a forensic psychiatrist found the professor was in a "dissociative state"

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A university professor has been ordered to pay £28,000 compensation for scratching cars while dressed in his underpants and a suit jacket.

Stephen Graham, 48, from Jesmond, Newcastle, admitted four counts of criminal damage in January.

He was given a nine month prison sentence, suspended for a year at Newcastle Crown Court.

Graham scratched the words "very silly", "really wrong" and "arbitrary" on 27 cars in Jesmond in August 2011.

'Detached from reality'

Graham, who is based at Newcastle University's school of architecture, planning and landscape, had drunk alcohol mixed with medication before he caused £28,000 of damage to cars including a Mercedes, an Audi, a Volvo and a Mitsubishi.

Street in Jesmond The cars were damaged while parked on Northumberland Gardens in Jesmond

The spree took place in Northumberland Gardens, a few streets away from where Graham lived in Lansdowne Gardens.

A report by a forensic psychiatrist, Don Grubin, for the defence, found the professor was in a "dissociative state" when he scratched the cars, and was "detached from reality".

Judge Guy Whitburn accepted his behaviour was totally out of character but said the compensation - effectively the professor and his wife's life savings - must be paid in full.

He added he hoped Mr Graham would be able to resume his career.

Julian Smith, mitigating, said his client was not merely drunk, and he showed no signs of aggression when arrested, but had a bad reaction to the medication and alcohol.

A spokesperson for Newcastle University said: "We will be considering the matter through normal university procedures. We are unable to comment further on an individual employee."

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