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Nelson statue vandal: ‘why I did it twice’

PUBLISHED: 15:17 18 August 2020 | UPDATED: 08:50 19 August 2020

Black graffiti has been sprayed onto the Nelson statue at Norwich Cathedral. Picture: Ruth Lawes

Black graffiti has been sprayed onto the Nelson statue at Norwich Cathedral. Picture: Ruth Lawes

Archant

A teenager has told why she followed up daubing graffiti on a statue of Admiral Lord Nelson with a second attack a few days later.

Fresh graffiti has been sprayed onto the Lord Nelson statue in the grounds of Norwich Cathedral. Picture: Daniel MoxonFresh graffiti has been sprayed onto the Lord Nelson statue in the grounds of Norwich Cathedral. Picture: Daniel Moxon

Jae Ikhera first daubed the statue of Norfolk’s most famous son with black spray paint on Saturday, July 4 before a second attack on Tuesday, July 7.

On the second occasion, she used more spray paint, crossed out Nelson’s name and added the word ‘DOWN’ to the plinth.

Ikhera, 19, was given a 12-month conditional discharge after admitting two counts of criminal damage when appearing at Norwich Magistrates Court on Friday.

Speaking after the case, the teenager described how, following the first attack, she carried out another attack to encourage more debate.

“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.”

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.

Ikhera added that the “whole point” was that Lord Nelson was treated as a “hero and an idol” without people “having the knowledge of his other ideas” which had 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.”

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.”

Ikhera told his solicitor, Simon Nicholls, about the issues she 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.


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