July 22, 2021 1.43 pm This story is over 34 months old

Artist behind vandalised imp is “gutted” and calls for suspect to pay damages

She has also asked for an apology for the schoolgirl who helped to make it

By Local Democracy Reporter

The artist commissioned to paint the Community Imp that was beheaded in Lincoln has said the person responsible for the damage should say sorry to the young schoolgirl who helped design it.

The Community Imp was one of 30 to be on display in the city centre as part of the Lincoln Imp Trail, but it was the subject of a vandalism case overnight on Wednesday.

Bradley Pennell, 20, of Ogilvy Drive, Bottesford, Scunthorpe was charged with criminal damage after the imp was found with its head cut off at around 4.15am on Guildhall Street.

The imp has been destroyed.

Police traced CCTV footage back to the hotel Bradley was staying at, and then went there to arrest him. Mr Pennell will appear at Lincoln Magistrates Court on August 5.

The Lincolnite caught up with Sian Bristow, the artist who painted the imp for this year’s trail.

The imp was designed by Sian Bristow and a local schoolgirl, and was sponsored by Reach.

The freelance artist designed the sculpture along with a local schoolgirl, and Sian said she was horrified to hear about the incident.

“I’m just really gutted about it, it’s still a shock each time I see a photo of it in two pieces.

“I’m even more upset that it was the Community Imp which was designed by a young girl at her school, I’d hate for her to see the photos of it vandalised.”

A 20-year-old suspect has now been arrested and charged with the damage.

It took Sian up to three weeks to fully paint the sculpture, which was due to go to auction at the end of the imp trail to raise funds for St Barnabas Hospice.

The damage could be a major blow to the overall donation for the Imp Trail’s charity partner, having been valued at around £20,000 per imp.

The imp was cut in half and has now been moved from its spot by organisers of the trail, Lincoln BIG.

“I hate that it could have a big impact on the appeal of the imp at auction” Sian said.

When discussing appropriate punishment for the person responsible, Sian had a few suggestions.

“I’ve read a lot of comments of what kind of punishment people want the person who did this to receive, but I personally think the person should be fined the amount it will cost for the sculpture to be repaired fully, so that St Barnabas don’t suffer from mindless actions.

“I also think the person should formally apologise to the little girl who designed the imp, it’s cruel for her work to have been vandalised, so I think she deserves an apology.”