Coventry & Warwickshire

Mark Graham sent hundreds of abusive letters to pop stars and MPs

Mark Graham Image copyright Police handout
Image caption Mark Graham was convicted of nine counts of racially aggravated harassment and one of attempted racially aggravated harassment

A man sent hundreds of abusive and "highly offensive" letters to pop stars, sporting personalities and MPs in a 13 year campaign.

Mark Graham also sent one containing talcum powder to a Coventry gym owner, claiming it was anthrax and leading to a partial evacuation of a retail park.

About 400 racially offensive letters were recovered by police.

The 46-year-old from Coventry was jailed for four and half years at Birmingham Crown Court.

Graham was convicted of nine counts of racially aggravated harassment and one of attempted racially aggravated harassment on Monday.

More updates on this story and others in Coventry and Warwickshire

The Coventry Telegraph reports that one of his victims was Baroness Lawrence whose son Stephen was killed in a racist attack in 1993.

Graham, of Everdon Road, Holbrooks, was caught after an offensive letter to the Archbishop of York in 2013 was sent for forensic tests which eventually led back to him.

'Threatening letters'

West Midlands Police said when interviewed, Graham claimed he sent the letters because he wanted to write a book and he was exploring character development, and gave no other explanation.

He began writing, hand delivering and posting the letters in 2001 and sent them to over 100 people.

Image caption Graham was caught after a letter he sent to the Archbishop of York was forensically tested and revealed a partial address in Coventry

He targeted celebrities, "prominent members of the community both locally and nationally as well as religious establishments", police said.

When police searched his home, officers found stacks of letters ready for posting and many photocopies of original letters.

Det Sgt Louise Hanlon said: "Although the majority of the people he targeted were black, he also sent hate letters to white and Asian people.

"The letters have had a huge impact on some of the victims' lives - one moved house as a result and another was off work with stress for a long period of time.

"Some of the letters were threatening, but all were highly offensive and upsetting and one, containing powder, led to a shopping park being evacuated."

He was also given a 12 year criminal behaviour order banning him from producing or sending any racially offensive correspondence and any anonymous correspondence; and contacting anyone named in the trial.

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