Man jailed for Elgin Mosque swastika vandalism
A man who sprayed offensive graffiti and swastikas on a mosque in Moray has been jailed for 14 months.
Mark Macpherson, 44, admitted a racially aggravated act of malicious mischief carried out in Elgin.
The incident happened in the town’s South Street in May 2019.
Sheriff Sara Matheson told Inverness Sheriff Court: “The north of Scotland has a long history of tolerance between religions and is friendly and welcoming to all.”
Fiscal depute Robert Weir said Lansana Bangura, the chairman of the Elgin mosque, had locked the building after prayers in the early morning of 20 May.
A witness later heard a noise similar to an aerosol can being sprayed and saw a hooded man.
Police found swastikas sprayed on windows and walls alongside offensive language.
Macpherson was identified through CCTV.
When interviewed by police after being arrested and asked if he could have done it, Macpherson, of Elgin, replied: “To be honest, I don’t know’.”
Defence solicitor Stephen Carty said his client had a heavy addiction to alcohol and drugs.
‘No place in society’
“What we have here is drunken, foolish and abusive behaviour which is a matter of great shame to him”, he said.
“He does not hold these views.”
Sheriff Matheson said: “This act seriously offends and displays ignorance and hate which has no place in our society.
“Any racial prejudice will be treated very seriously by the court.”
The mosque’s Mr Bangura said at the time that such acts did not “unscrew the bond which we have with our community”.
Moray Council had the “deeply offensive” graffiti removed.