Court

A man who broke a statue on the Lincoln Imp Trail during drunken high jinks has picked up a court bill of £4,680 – after causing an estimated £20,000 of damage.

Stewart Tomlinson, 45, will also carry out ten rehabilitation activity requirement days with the Probation Service and undergo 90 days of alcohol abstinence monitoring.

Tomlinson, of Hainton Avenue in Grimsby, pleaded guilty on Thursday to criminal damage. Sentencing was then adjourned for preparation of a pre-sentence report.

Prosecutor Emma Lant said on Friday (September 17) that the damage happened at about half past midnight on August 29.

She described how the defendant, another male and a female were seen on CCTV walking up High Street.

When they reached the Lincoln City Football Club imp statue outside The Treaty of Commerce pub, the group posed with it before Tomlinson jumped on it.

“He was holding on to its head, which amused the group. The defendant therefore jumped on to it a second time, holding on to it with his arms and legs which caused the fibreglass to break, with the head falling off,” said Miss Lant.

“The male with the group threw the head towards the defendant and the defendant kicked it into the street.”

The Lincoln Footie Imp before the damage.

The court heard that they then left the scene but soon returned to take a photograph of the broken statue. The group then went to the Anchor pub, where Tomlinson was arrested.

Miss Lant said: “The defendant said several times that it was an accident. He jumped on it and its head fell off.

“In custody he made further comments that they were just messing around. He [said he] was ‘skull f***ing it and it just came off – it was an accident’.”

The court was shown CCTV footage of the incident. The imps trail of 30 statues was a £400,000 project by Lincoln Business Improvement Group, which helps provide business and tourism support in the city centre.

A statement by Lincoln BIG corporate manager Sharon Stone said the damage was ‘irreparable’.

She added: “This is made all the more pertinent when the reality of the work that goes into each one of these artistic structures is delved into. Each imp has its own identity and is an expression of an idea, location or piece of history.”

Mrs Stone put the overall costs of the damage at £20,000 – including a possible £5,000 to St Barnabas Hospice when the imp would have been auctioned off when the trail closed.

“This is particularly upsetting when you think the perpetrator of this mindless act has potentially just deprived St Barnabas of £5,000 for no justifiable reason,” she added.

Tomlinson, who had previous convictions for bring drunk and disorderly, damage and assault, apologised to the court for the damage to the imp and said it had not been intentional.

“I didn’t mean for it to break, it just literally happened,” he added.

He was ordered to pay £4,500 compensation, £95 victim surcharge and £85 costs.

A stalker who caused such fear to his victim that she tried to take her own life has been jailed, Lincoln Crown Court heard on Friday.

John Ogle, who was a Facebook friend with his victim, used fake social media accounts to send messages to the woman with threats to harm her if she did not send him naked photographs.

He made further threats, went on to slash a tyre on her car and fitted a tracking device to her vehicle.

Ogle also messaged her claiming he had kidnapped her boyfriend.

Lucky Thandi, prosecuting, said the victim’s contact with Ogle increased at the start of the first COVID lockdown in the spring of 2020.

Ogle visited her home at one stage and stayed for three days but the relationship between them was purely as friends. However when Ogle discovered she had begun a relationship with another man his behaviour changed.

Miss Thandi said: “She asked the defendant for space which he did not seem to understand and she blocked him on Instagram and Facebook.”

Within a fortnight the woman began receiving threatening messages requesting naked photographs.

One message sent by Ogle from a fake account, said “Watch your boyfriend’s vehicle burn tonight”.

Then, after her car tyre was slashed, she received a further message saying: “I can make it much worse. I know where you work. I know your friends. You’ll never be safe. When I’ve finished with your boyfriend, I’m coming for you.”

The victim then found a tracking device had been fitted to her car. Ogle sent her a photograph of a man taped and tied up in the boot of a car claiming he had kidnapped her boyfriend.

The following day he sent a further photograph which also showed the registration number of Ogle’s car which led police to trace and arrest him.

Until that time the victim believed an ex-boyfriend was responsible.

Miss Thandi said the victim was so badly affected that at one point she took an overdose.

“The threats and harassment massively affected her life. She didn’t feel safe at her home, at work, or outside.

“This was clearly persistent, planned and designed to cause maximum distress.”

Ogle, 30, who gave a ‘care of’ address in Witham Town, Boston, admitted a charge of stalking causing serious alarm or distress between July 30, 2020 and August 19, 2020.

He was jailed for 28 months and given a lifetime restraining order banning him from contacting his victim and from going to any address where he knows her to be living or staying.

Judge Catarina Sjolin Knight told him: “You are manipulative and self centred.

“You were directly and repeatedly threatening her and caused her to try to kill herself.”

Neil Sands, in mitigation, said Ogle has been on bail since he was arrested 13 months ago and in the interim has not contacted his victim. He urged that any prison sentence should be suspended.

A former Lincolnshire lorry driver has been jailed for 12 months for sexual offences against children in the 1970s.

Lawrence Burman, 75, of Beck Side, Hibaldstow, pleaded guilty to four counts of gross indecency against a child and two counts of indecent assault against a child, St Albans Crown Court heard.

The offences relate to three children, aged between eight and 13 at the time they were abused by Burman.

The court heard how Burman used to work as a lorry driver for a firm in Hemel Hempstead. In 1970, he carried out a sexual act in the presence of one victim while they both sat inside his cab.

Burman then went on to commit several offences near Berkhamsted between 1972 and 1978. One offence was also committed in Lincolnshire.

Detective Constable Laura Chillingworth, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s historic child abuse investigation team, said: “Burman arrogantly believed he would get away with his actions, thinking his victims would never reveal what happened to them. However, their courage in coming forward meant he did have to face the consequences of what he did all those years ago.

“On arrest, he denied the allegations and claimed his victims were lying, but later pleaded guilty to all charges.

“Child victims of sexual abuse never forget what happened to them. They have to learn to live with it, but understandably it often has a hugely negative impact on their self-esteem and their mental health.

“I hope the conclusion of this investigation and its outcome finally gives all three of them a sense of closure on the past.”

Burman will be on licence on his release from prison.

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