A CARPET vandal who ignored a punishment for a crime he committed ten years ago has somehow walked out of court with a lesser sanction.

At the age of 12, Lewis Graham entered a woman’s house in Westcliff and threw paint over her carpet, causing £400 worth of damage, and spelt out his first name with the paint.

He left the paint pot he used in the woman’s kitchen.

However, police did not pick up Graham until this year - a full decade after he caused the damage.

Graham, now 22, was asked by police to come in for a voluntary interview earlier this year, which he accepted, and during the interview admitted to causing the damage.

Police issued him with a caution and instructed him to go on a victim awareness course and pay £80 in costs.

However, yesterday, Southend Magistrates’ Court heard Graham believed this to be “stupid”, because the offence was so long ago, and chose not to attend the course, resulting in police then officially charging him with criminal damage to property valued under £5,000.

Graham, of Kursaal Way, Southend, appeared at court and spoke only to confirm his name and address and to enter his guilty plea.

Gareth Hunter, prosecuting, said: “This is an unusual case which has been ongoing for some time.

“The victim had come to her home to find that should couldn’t get through the front door.

“She went around to the back doors to find them open, and that paint had been drawn all over the carpet and the name “Lewis” had been written in the room. When he failed to attend his victim awareness course or pay the costs, the police had no choice but to charge him.”

Penny Simons, mitigating, said: “The defendant told police that he did carry out this damage when he was 12, he could just about remember it. He said it was a stupid, idiotic and childish thing to do.

“But he thought the whole thing was stupid and made the decision not to do the course, as this had been left and left for so many years.”

Ms Simons argued that Graham should have a complete discharge of the crime due to the amount of time it has taken to reach court.

The magistrates bench chose to give Graham a conditional discharge for six months, meaning if he commits a crime during that time he will be punished for that and the carpet damage.

This means he received a lesser sentence than he originally got from the police.