A MILITANT atheist who put grossly offensive religious images in a prayer room at Liverpool’s John Lennon airport was hit with a five-year ASBO.
But Harry Taylor, 59, claimed he felt faint and had to be given first aid after he was told by Judge Charles James his crimes deserved imprisonment and ruled he should pay £250 costs.
The hearing at Liverpool Crown Court had to be temporarily adjourned while a wheezing Taylor, who clasped his chest, received treatment.
Judge James suspended a six-month sentence for two years, but he warned Taylor: “I don’t give people a second chance.”
He imposed the Asbo, which bans Taylor from carrying religiously offensive material in a public place.
Taylor, of Salford, Greater Manchester, admitted leaving the pictures, which depicted figures from Christianity and Islam, often in sexual poses, in the airport’s multi-faith room on three separate occasions. But the jobless 59-year-old, who labelled himself a militant atheist, said he was simply practising his own religion of “reason and rationality” and was hoping to convert people.
He told jurors he left the items in the room in memory of “his hero” John Lennon. But a jury of 10 women and two men, who all swore their oath on the Bible, rejected his defence. They took just 15 minutes to rule he had left the religious offence material with the intention of causing alarm or distress.
Judge James said: “Not only have you shown no remorse for what you did, but even now you continue to maintain you have done nothing wrong and say that whenever you feel like it you intend to do the same thing again in the future.”
Taylor was ordered to carry out 100 hours’ unpaid work and pay £250 in costs. Brigid Baillie, defending, told the court Taylor, who has a similar previous conviction, said he had learned his lesson.
She said: “Perhaps the message did not hit home before. It has now.”