Five offered restorative justice over toppling of Colston statue

17 September 2020, 14:08

Protesters throw statue of Edward Colston into Bristol harbour
Protesters throw statue of Edward Colston into Bristol harbour. Picture: PA

Five people interviewed over the toppling of a statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol will be offered conditional cautions, a chief constable has said.

The bronze memorial to the 17th century slave merchant was pulled down during a Black Lives Matter protest on June 7, before being dumped in Bristol Harbour.

No arrests were made at the time but officers reviewed CCTV footage and other pictures and video to identify 18 people they wanted to speak to.

Andy Marsh, chief constable of Avon and Somerset Police, said eight people had been interviewed and one person had been arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage to the statue.

"The law was broken, it was an act of criminal damage," the chief constable said on Thursday.

"Fortunately, as far as I'm concerned, it was one crime, one act of damage in an event that carried a significant amount of risk for Bristol and the community.

Statue of Edward Colston removed from water in Bristol

"We've rolled our sleeves up, got on with the investigation. We've now interviewed nine people.

"One of them has been arrested, the other eight have voluntarily attended.

"We propose to send four of the individual cases to the Crown Prosecution Service to make a charging decision.

"We've offered the lawyers for the other five the opportunity for restorative justice.

"We propose they will pay a fine and do some acts to make good their crime.

"If they refuse to take that, and they'll have a week to make their mind up, then they will be added to the four that are going to the Crown Prosecution Service."

Police previously said that a 24-year-old man from Eastleigh, Hampshire, had been arrested in connection with the incident.

Officers also arrested a 27-year-old man, who was later released with no further action taken.

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