Vandal was filmed as he beheaded Lincoln Imp designed by Gonerby Hill Foot School pupil, 9, in aid of St Barnabas Hospice
A vandal broke the head off a Lincoln Imp sculpture designed by schoolchildren in a moment of "drunken stupidity".
Bradley Pennell, 20, appeared before Lincoln Magistrates' Court today (Thursday, August 5) where he admitted a charge of criminal damage.
The statue was designed by a pupil from Gonerby Hill Foot School as part of the Lincoln Imp Trail in aid of St Barnabas Hospice. It was found split in two after the incident in the early hours of July 21.
Prosecuting, Marie Stace said the 20-year-old had been on a night out in Lincoln and was seen on CCTV at about 3.40am walking with a friend before stopping at the site of the Imp.
After a "period of conversation", the friend filmed Pennell as he proceeded to jump on the statue, which was sponsored by Lincolnshire Live, and "rock it back and forth" until the head of the statue was split entirely from the bottom half of the body, she said.
They were then seen walking back in the direction of the Holiday Inn hotel on the Brayford where they were staying, with CCTV showing two men entering the hotel at 3.56am - one of them later being identified as Pennell, Ms Stace added.
The court heard that it was a police officer on duty at the time who discovered the statue, before checking CCTV cameras and tracing Pennell back to the hotel.
The cost of the damage to the Imp, in Guildhall Street, was estimated to be around £4,500. A temporary replacement has recently been installed.
A witness statement from Sarah Loftus, the chief executive of the Imp Trail organisers Lincoln BIG, 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."
The statement said that the design for the statue was submitted by a nine-year-old girl, and that the statue was to be auctioned off in October with the money going to St Barnabas Hospice.
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 the hotel.
Defending solicitor Mark McNeil told the court that Pennell had written letters of apology to the nine-year-old girl, as well as to the artist behind the sculpture and to Lincoln BIG.
Mr McNeil said that the "ramifications" for Pennell had already been "significant", with himself and his family having "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.
The court also heard that Pennell works for a construction company, earning £300 a week, and that he will be starting a part-time degree at Nottingham University in September alongside it.
Mr McNeil described the incident as a case of "drinks in, wits out that should not ruin the rest of his life", saying that he had "walked through the doors of this courtroom today as a man of good character with an impeccable record".
Mr McNeil 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?"
Pennell, of Ogilvy Drive, Bottesford, Scunthorpe, was ordered to pay £2,250 in compensation and was placed under a conditional discharge, meaning that if he commits another offence in the next nine months he will be punished for both crimes.