Teen says city Nelson graffiti attack ‘achieved what I wanted it to’
- Credit: Archant
A teenager insisted she achieved the goal of starting a debate about Admiral Lord Nelson after admitting twice daubing a Norwich monument with graffiti.
The statue of Norfolk’s most famous son, found in the grounds of Norwich Cathedral, was first daubed with black spray paint on Saturday, July 4 before a second attack on Tuesday, July 7 when more spray was used with Nelson’s name crossed out and the word ‘DOWN’ added to the plinth.
While Nelson is regarded as a hero by many, he has become something of a controversial figure after it was suggested in a letter read in parliament after his death that he was against a campaign to abolish slavery.
Jae Ikhera, 19, was given a 12 month conditional discharge after admitting both counts of criminal damage when appearing at Norwich Magistrates Court on Friday.
Speaking to this paper the teenager insisted the “whole point” was that Lord Nelson is treated as a “hero and an idol” without people “having the knowledge of his other ideas” which have been hidden away.
The university student said: “We can still be heroes and have these ideas but if you don’t acknowledge all the issues you are just taking that out of context.”
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Ikhera said: “I know a lot of people in Norwich were fairly outraged by my actions but people have then talked about it so it has kind of achieved what I wanted it to.”
The teenager described how, following the first attack, she carried out another attack to encourage more debate.
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“The first time people still weren’t addressing why I had done it so I kind of wanted to make sure they did. So that’s why I went back.
“Essentially my reasoning was if I did get taken to court I would then be able to air my grievances and my viewpoint.”
Ikhera told his solicitor, Simon Nicholls, about the issues the teen wanted to raise and said “he did a really good job of telling the court about what I told him and the reason I had done it for”.
Mr Nicholls said: “Jae has always accepted responsibility for these two actions. Jae intended to start a debate about Lord Nelson which Jae has been successful in doing.”Ikhera, of Braithwait Close, Norwich, was ordered to pay a £22 victim surcharge, although there was no order for costs or compensation.