A national go-karting champion who smashed up a regional news website’s imp sculpture blamed “drunken stupidity” as he was ordered to pay more than £2,000 in compensation.
Bradley Pennell has been sentenced after he vandalised the imp, which is sponsored by Reach plc site Lincolnshire Live.
Pennell, 20, was ordered to pay £2,250 in compensation and placed under a conditional discharge after admitting a charge of criminal damage at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court.
HTFP reported last month how the sculpture, part of a tourist attraction organised by Lincoln Business Improvement Group, had been “broken in two by being beheaded” by Pennell.
According to Lincolnshire Live, the court heard Pennell, of Scunthrope, had been on a night out in Lincoln and was seen on CCTV at around 3.40am walking with a friend before stopping at the site of the imp.
Marie Stace, prosecuting, said he proceeded to jump on the statue and “rock it back and forth” until the head of the statue was split entirely from the bottom half of the body.
The cost of the damage to the imp was estimated to be around £4,500 and a witness statement from Lincoln BIG chief executive Sarah Loftus described her waking up to the “infuriating” and “upsetting” news, which she says was “made pertinent when the amount of work that goes into a statue is delved into.”
Ms Stace said that, in his police interview, Pennell had described his actions as “drunken stupidity”, and that he was “too drunk to think through it in detail” and fell asleep when he got back to his hotel.
The court heard that Pennell had written letters of apology to the nine-year-old girl who designed the imp, as well as to the artist behind the sculpture and to St Barnabas Hospice, for which it was due to be auctioned off.
Mark McNeil, defending, told the court that the “ramifications” for Pennell had already been “significant”, while he and his family had “suffered” due to his name being publicised.
Additionally, Mr McNeil said that Pennell was a British champion in go-karting and was worried that the “negative publicity” around the incident may cause his sponsors to walk away from him.
He added: “This is one aberration and he has now had his character put into question and with no disrespect to the press, the fact that somebody who has done so well in life is now being treated as a career criminal is just wrong.
“He is not only apologetic, but as we have heard he has written letters of apology, and how often is it that a young man writes letters to the victims of a crime and apologises?”