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'I don't think it's Brexit, just racism' victim's verdict as man who daubed racist graffiti jailed.

Byline: ANDREW BARDSLEY

'BREXIT and immigration' was playing on the mind of a man who daubed racist graffiti on the front door of a family home, a court heard.

Vaughan Dowd, 54, has been jailed for 12 months after he daubed 'no blacks' in white paint on the front door of Jackson Yamba's flat. Mr Yamba, 38, lived there with his 10-year-old son. Mr Yamba, a solicitor who came to the UK from the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2006, had moved into the block of flats where Dowd lived in Irlams o' th' Height, Salford, just days before the incident, on February 8. Dowd, who only had one previous conviction from 27 years ago for forging a work sick note, had lived there for 25 years.

But speaking outside court, Mr Yamba said he didn't believe Brexit had anything to do with Dowd's behaviour, which was described as 'vile and hateful' by a judge.

Mr Yamba said: "What's Brexit have to do with it? "People can debate about it. I don't think it's Brexit, just racism.

"I think it's quite a good sentence.

It reflects the gravity or seriousness of the offence for me, and I think it sends a clear message," Mr Yamba said.

Dowd vandalised three doors in Irlam Square, including the one to Mr Yamba's home.

He and his son David spotted the graffiti as they left home to travel to work and school.

The crime was publicised after Mr Yamba tweeted a photo of his front door, and complained that no police had been to see him after he reported the attack.

It caused outrage on social media, and led to an apology from Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins.

CCTV footage showed that Dowd covered his face to carry out the attack, before returning to the flats with his face uncovered.

In a victim impact statement following the incident, Mr Yamba said: "This incident has left me feeling very angry.

"The idea someone has the audacity to attack the front door of my home address and target me in this way has affected me in a lasting way.

"I'm now constantly on edge and worried about every little noise outside and it has affected my ability to sleep."

A judge paid tribute to the outpouring of support Mr Yamba received from the community.

While heartened by the many gifts and messages of support from locals, Mr Yamba said he worries about bringing his son up in the area and may move out of Greater Manchester.

At a previous court hearing, Dowd's lawyers asked for a psychiatric report to be prepared. But it did not reveal much more information than already contained in a pre-sentence report, the court heard. Dowd's barrister, Iain Johnstone, described the self-employed gardener as a 'grey' man who doesn't have a social life.

He had been watching coverage of issues such as Brexit and immigration, topics that 'for some reason were playing on his mind', Mr Johnstone said.

He said Dowd denied being a racist, and said there wasn't a clear explanation as to why Dowd carried out the act.

Dowd previously pleaded guilty to a single count of racially-aggravated criminal damage.

CAPTION(S):

Jackson Yamba and son David

Vaughan Dowd and the racist graffiti

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Publication:Manchester Evening News (Manchester, United Kingdom)
Date:May 17, 2019
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