A man who flapped his arms about in a cemetery, making ghost noises within earshot of mourners visiting graves was fined and given a suspended prison sentence. Anthony Stallard, 24, was reported to police after he was seen throwing himself backwards and saying ‘wooooooh’ at Kingston Cemetery in his home town of Portsmouth, the city’s magistrates heard. Shortly before that, Stallard, who is unemployed, was seen kicking a football at graves with a friend.
Tim Concannon, prosecuting, told Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court: ‘While the football was going on, this defendant was effectively singing loudly and being disrespectful in among the graves. ‘He was throwing himself backwards, waving his arms about and going ‘woooooooh’. ‘I’m assuming he was pretending to be a ghost.’
Police arrested him and charged him with using threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to cause distress. Stallard admitted the charge, and accepted that his behaviour could cause distress to grieving relatives.
Denise Saunders, defending, said: ‘He has accepted that his behaviour, if it had been outside of a cemetery, would not have been inappropriate. ‘But inside a cemetery, while people are grieving for their loved ones, it might be.’
Stallard committed the offence while subject to a 12-month conditional discharge which he’d received for a charge of harassment in January. He was also in breach of a suspended sentence for an offence of assault, which he had committed in August last year. He was fined £35, and made to pay a £20 victim surcharge and £20 court costs. An extra three months was added to his suspended sentence, which will now run for 15 months instead of the previous 12. And if he commits a further offence that breaches this suspended sentence, he will face 12 weeks’ imprisonment. Charges of causing damage to gravestones as the pair played football were dismissed when witnesses failed to turn up at court.