Derby pensioner charged for homophobic graffiti and abuse in pub

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A pensioner in Derbyshire who wrote homophobic messages in a pub toilet before abusing staff has been ordered to pay compensation and perform 120 hours of community service.

On January 7, staff at the Red Lion in the town of Ripley reportedly suspected that Joseph Smith, 64, had written homophobic messages on the walls of the toilet. They asked him to leave but he “became aggressive”.

Smith began shouting at staff, at which point staff member Debbie Palfreyman went to assist them. Ms Palfreyman has a female partner, and Smith allegedly started directing his verbal abuse at her.

Sherral Pickford said that his behaviour distressed another member of staff, Joanna Marshall.

She added: “Police asked him to go outside. In the smoking area he continued to rant and rave, making reference to queers.”

Smith said afterwards that the behaviour was out of character and apologised to staff.

“I had something on my mind and that’s why it happened. I should know better, I’m 65,” he said.

Judge Andrew Davison of the Chesterfield magistrates’ court ruled yesterday that Smith should pay £100 compensation to Ms Palfreyman and Ms Marshall, as well as £65 to a victims-of-crime fund and £85 costs for the graffiti.

He was also ordered to do 120 hours of community service.