Mark Chapman wept outside court after the Derbyshire Times told him of the support he has received on social media amid his chalk case.
Mr Chapman, who is also known as Ted, appeared in Chesterfield magistrates’ court where he was handed a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £150 for committing criminal damage at Queen’s Park in the town.
The 56-year-old former teacher – who originally denied the charge earlier this year – this morning admitted using chalk to draw on the bandstand in April.
Andrew Conboy, prosecuting, told the court: “He was seen on CCTV doing quite offensive graffiti.”
The court was played the CCTV footage which showed swear words on the bandstand.
Mr Chapman, of Bellhouse Lane, Staveley, shouted out: “I didn’t write that.”
Mr Conboy added: “It cost the council £300 to send a van to the area to remove the chalk on three separate occasions.”
Denney Lau, mitigating for Mr Chapman, said: “He accepts he’s drawn symbols on the bandstand but he wanted to express himself and raise awareness about mental health issues. He suffers from bipolar disorder and other problems.
“Mr Chapman never realised it was an offence but he accepts he placed himself in that situation and is upset about the whole incident.”
At the end of the case, musician Mr Chapman – who has set up a group called the Root and Branch Project to help people with mental helth problems – offered to send the magistrates a copy of one of his CDs.
Outside court, we told Mr Chapman that many people had praised him on the Derbyshire Times’ Facebook page, calling him a ‘legend’ who ‘should not be in court’.
Mr Chapman cried and said: “It was just chalk. The rain would have come and washed it away.”
He added: “I’d like to thank everyone for their support and now I can focus even more time on the Root and Branch Project to help other people with mental health conditions.”
The Derbyshire Times agreed to meet with Mr Chapman in the future for a feature about his group.
He smiled and said: “You journalists aren’t all bad.”