Gravestone accused: 'I didn't do it'

By Abby Gillies

Jewish graves were desecrated with Nazi emblems at the Grafton Cemetery on Karangahape Rd. Photo / Chris Gorman
Jewish graves were desecrated with Nazi emblems at the Grafton Cemetery on Karangahape Rd. Photo / Chris Gorman

One of the men accused of defacing Jewish gravestones at a central Auckland cemetery says he is innocent and has lashed out at the handling of the case.

Three men have been charged in connection with the desecration of the graves last week and are due to appear at Auckland District Court today.

One, 23-year-old Nathan Symington, described the allegations as "a witch hunt".

"No I didn't do it. They're just trying to point the stick at someone. I feel like killing myself over this because my name has been publicly shamed,'' he told reporters outside court.

Symington said the damage had been exaggerated.

He admitted sharing a photo of the desecrated gravestones but said he did not know who was involved in the crime.

"I'm fighting this till the bitter end."

And he labelled police handling of the case as "unprofessional".

His two co-accused refused to comment.

The trio have been charged with wilful damage after about 20 graves in the Grafton Cemetery were desecrated.

Anti-semitic graffiti and swastikas were sprayed on the headstones at the cemetery on Symonds St between Thursday and Friday.

About 15 had large black swastikas sprayed on them. One had "f*** Israel" scrawled on, another said "don't f*** with us".

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has called the attacks deplorable, saying the city has "zero tolerance for racism, bigotry and ethnic intolerance".

In a second attack, a Grey Lynn house being renovated was defaced with similar Nazi emblems. Police are investigating whether there are links between the attacks.

- APNZ

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