Vandal fined over £5k train graffiti

Posted On 02 Dec 2020 at 2:45 pm

A Thameslink class 700 train, right, at Brighton Station


A vandal has been landed with a court bill of £568 after spraying graffiti on a Brighton train.

Richard Markwick, 30, vandalised the Govia Thameslink Railway train while it was in sidings at Dyke Road on 21 February, 2018.

On 26 November, Brighton Magistrates Court was told he caused £5,326 of damage.

A GTR spokesman said: “Train graffiti is straightforward vandalism. Not only is it very costly to clean off and repair, but it takes trains out of service, inconveniencing hundreds or thousands of passengers.

“Worst of all, by trespassing on the railway the vandals put their own lives at great risk. We work closely with the British Transport Police to prosecute these criminals and welcome this judgement.”

At court, Markwick, of Angola Road, Worthing, pleaded guilty to one count of criminal damage.

He was fined £153, ordered to pay compensation of £300, a victim surcharge of £30 and costs of £85.

A collection order was made, for £60 a month starting in January next year.

  1. Greens Out Reply

    £300 compensation for over £5k damage?

    Was the judge on drugs??

  2. BAHTAG Reply

    First of all let’s congratulate those concerned for investing in people and systems which enabled a criminal from Worthing to be caught and convicted for a crime committed in Brighton & Hove!

    That said one does wonder about the relatively small amount of compensation ordered by the magistrates.

    It sounds as though whatever lawyers Govia instructed might have ticked a ‘Compensation’ box on the prosecution papers, without realising the magistrates might not have the power (or the inclination?) to impose compensation of £5k?

    Instead of asking the magistrates to award compensation Govia, or perhaps their insurers, might have done better to use the fact of the criminal conviction to seek a civil court-order for the full £5k plus?

    Also; in the arcane world of ancient and modern transport law one wonders what possibilities there might be to ban the crim from travelling by public transport?

  3. Hove Guy Reply

    Yet anther ludicrously feeble fine. He should have been made to pay the full amount, as well as being given a prison sentence. What sort of message is this giving out to other would be vandals? And it would be interesting to know what other incidents of vandalism he has created.

    • Nigel Furness Reply

      Firstly, in reply to Hove Guy, I’m in total agreement with you on all points, particularly re. any other incidents he may be responsible for and I’m wondering if our Editor could publish pictures of his handywork so that sharp-eyed citizens could keep an eye-out for other examples and report them to the relevant authorities.
      Secondly, BAHTAG is also totally right with his or her comments, particularly in respect of Govia pursuing Civil Proceedings for recompense of the outstanding repair bill.
      Finally, I strongly suspect that the hands of Magistrates are tied when it comes to sentencing by virtue of this country STILL finding itself under the juristiction of the so-called EUROPEAN COURT of HUMAN RIGHTS (ECHR) but, as a close friend of mine is a retired Brighton Magistrate, I shall enquire this of her later today!

      • Hove |guy Reply

        Many thanks, Nigel. It will be very interesting to learn what your friend has to say about it. Maybe she can throw sone light on why nerly every week there is at least one example reported where the punishment seems to ber no relationship to the crime.

        • nigel Furness Reply

          Thank you, Hove Guy.
          I left a message for my retired Magistrate friend later yesterday morning, as promised, but as yet, she hasn’t responded so as soon as she does, rest assured that I’ll post whatever information she provides to me.

  4. Jo Wadsworth Reply

    Just to answer a couple of questions about the story

    Firstly, I asked GTR to release pictures, but they didn’t want them published as they believe it glorifies the vandalism.

    And secondly, fines are based on a defendant’s income. I wasn’t in court, but the fact he’s arranged a repayment scheme suggests he doesn’t have ample means to pay a large fine.

    There’s more information on that here:

    https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/explanatory-material/magistrates-court/item/fines-and-financial-orders/approach-to-the-assessment-of-fines-2/1-approach-to-the-assessment-of-fines-introduction/

    • nigel Furness Reply

      Thank you so much for your efforts, Jo, it’s much appreciated and provides useful information.
      However, the blase response from Govia is both selfish and irresponsible in the extreme, in as much as it provides a veritable carte blanche to this criminal to contiue with his acts of vandalism unabated—but a thought occurrs—as the scene of the crime is located in Caroline Lucas’s Constituency, I wonder, what are the chances of this MP using her good offices to SHAME GoVia into revealing the necessary photos of his handiwork—especially seeing as our City is currently in the grip of a graffiti epidemic—were she able to do so, she would receive my unstinting PUBLIC support for her efforts—credit ALWAYS where it’ due!
      As for the aforementioned criminal being, presumably, unable to afford a more appropriate fine, an old saying springs to mind: “if you can’t do the time, you shouldn’t do the crime!”
      Time in this instance should mean COMMUNITY SERVICE and I think that he should be put to work, for some considerable period of his available time, on GRAFITTI removal across the City.

  5. BAHTAG Reply

    Whilst the link provided above by the reporter is a welcome effort to assist understanding of this topic it seems only to lead to levels of fines, but not to compensation for material damage suffered by victims?

    Some may find the reported responses of GTR to be rather worrying, in the way that a massive corporation, whose shareholders dividends are largely funded by UK taxpayers, doesn’t appear willing to meet a clear civic duty to support law and order in our nation?

    Given the times in which we live it seems to be a valid question as to why GTR does not seem to have applied anti-graffiti varnish to its trains, so that any overnight defacing can be jet-washed off in minutes before a train leaves the depot?

    The short answer seems to be that the relatively modest cost of an anti-graffiti coating could have marginally reduced shareholder’s profits!

    The longer answer seems to be that most rail franchisees just rent their trains from financial leasing companies, whereby it might be felt to be too difficult to negotiate a rate for adding protective coatings (not only for the cost of the coating, but rip-off costs for firstly cleaning the carriages, and for taking them to wherever the work’s to be done, + high daily standing charges whilst the trains are put in a queue to be cleaned & coated!) perhaps?

    And possibly worst of all is the implied cynicism of GTR – they can’t be bothered to sue for £5k compensation, nor to invest in anti-graffiti coatings, because they just inflate the price of tickets, and the subsidy they demand from UK taxpayers, to keep their directors & shareholders in a level of luxury they have no moral right to enjoy, surely?

    Almost all UK roads are state owned, and clearly other fundamental services needed by the citizens of our so- called civilised nation (such as rail, (air-)ports, utilities, post, core telecoms, education, + the NHS & blue-light services etc) also need to be owned by taxpayers (which need not exclude contracts being offered to the private sector for ad-hoc projects or needs not justifying the development of ongoing in-house capacity), surely?

    And to close on a possibly frivolous-sounding note: Taken in the round the UK public sector is almost certainly the largest purchaser of toilet-paper in the country. So why does our government not own paper mills, somewhere in the world, to produce at least 80% of the loo rolls needed by our public sector?

    Answer: due to austerity our public services have become so under-staffed that those still employed can barely keep the nation running, let alone work at what the go-ahead private sector calls ‘Continuous Improvement’!

    However the combination of Brexit + the pandemic offer a wonderful opportunity to re-build our public services, and to improve and expand them, by seeking to re-train and to give long-term employment to many of the millions now jobless or under-employed.

    Rocket science? Not really, just plain honest common-sense needed from the MPs we’ve elected, surely?

  6. Phil Reply

    Criminal convictions for changing the colour of a surface are utterly ridiculous and morally wrong. Graffiti is STILL regarded as criminal damage, yet companies, governments, celebrities regard graffiti as a recognised art form. Which itself is then a contradiction. There needs to be more research done and the laws surrounding graffiti art changed.

    Yes I agree, breaking other laws to create these pieces of colourful art is and can be dangerous. But that’s because society has no actual voice. The majority are silenced.
    Sheeple, created to follow….in silence.

    Art is not a crime.

  7. Nigel Furness Reply

    How right you are, BAHTAG on ALL the points youv’e raised in your detailed and very -well researched post.
    While Capitalism is by no means perfect, it appears to me to be the best system currently on offer and I have long believed that there are a certain number of core, basic services, all of which you’ve covered here, to which a profit-driven motive cannot apply.
    Let’s face it, the old nationalised industries (British Rail and British Telecoms to name but two of them), were abysmal, but privatisation has NOT led to COMPETITION as now we have CARTELS when it comes to energy companies, rail franchises and land-line telephone companies—you could spen an enormous amount of you time endlessly switching between service providers, only to find that you’re back to square one in no time and furthermore, when it comes to water companies there isn’t even the PRETENCE of competition—you’re stuck with what you’ve got and as for the rail franchises, they’re invariably subsidised by us taxpayers while providing, in most cases, a sub-standard service. Don’t even get me started on what’s become of our Post offices (or lack of them) and our Royal Mail—once the envy of the world!
    Yes, the old nationalised companies were (with the exception of the last-mentioned), poorly run but that was totally down to POOR MANAGEMENT, appointed by successive Governments; I refuse to believe that, with dynamic managers, state-run companies cannot compete with the bestof them—after all, who is now running most of our utility and transport companies if not STATE-RUN FRENCH COMPANIES who channel the profits bac home? You couldn’t make it up!!
    I’ll conclude by saying that what has ruined our country is this rigid adherence to ‘ISMS’—Socialism, Toryism, Environmentalism, Trade Unionism and, the worst of the lot—DOGMATISM
    You’re right, BAHTAG, in that much good can come out of Brexit, but the trouble is that we’ve not, as yet, achieved a TRUE Brexit and I have my doubts that under Boris, we will.
    But if we can somehow put an end to the ‘Ism’-driven, YA-BOO politics which presently are tearing our nation asunder and get back Into the habit of implementing radical, COMMON SENSE policies, we have a very bright future on the horizon.
    WHERE THERE’S A POLITICAL WILL—THERE’S A POLITICAL WAY!!!

  8. Truth Teller Reply

    Art is art, everyone moaning about graffiti, get a fucking life. These people are only artists expressing themselves. Do you want to have the boot out on you’re throat to stop u from doing what you love? It’s people like the above who will let the world rot and burn before they change it cos thier too stubborn and shoved up thier own anus.

    • Valerie Reply

      How is scribbling on the side of a train parked on private property Art? Obvs was not a Banksy was it, or we would see a photo & happy campers instead of a criminal conviction. How did it count as Art?

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