Aylesham poppy burning teenager Linford House meets war veterans instead of criminal charges
Linford House posted this
picture of a poppy being burned on Facebook
by Alex Claridge
A teenager who posted a picture of a burning poppy on Facebook
has apologised to war veterans and serving soldiers instead of
being charged with a criminal offence.
Linford House, 19, from Aylesham, was at the centre of public
outrage when he was arrested for uploading the controversial photo
on the day before Remembrance Sunday.
It was accompanied by a foul-mouthed message to British
But the Canterbury College student
(pictured left) will not face prosecution after agreeing to
speak to an ex-naval marine, a sergeant major, members of the Royal
British Legion and representatives from an Army-affiliated
House, known as Linney, met them yesterday at an undisclosed
location in Canterbury to apologise and discuss the impact of his
He said: "I am deeply sorry for what I did. I think about it
every day and it's always in the back of my mind.
"I've lost friends over what happened but I didn't want to hide
away – I wanted to make things right as much as possible.
"The poppy is a symbol of peace and I shouldn't have done what I
"I'm sorry to everyone that it's offended."
Among the armed services representatives he met
was Nikki Scott, founder of Scotty's Little Soldiers, who lost
her husband Corporal Lee Scott during a tour of duty.
She said: "My family and I learnt the hard way about what a poppy
means and stands for and when I saw the picture I was hurt, upset
"It was good to see Mr House talk to us and apologise and
hopefully he will be able to go someway to making up for some of
the offence he caused."
House's arrest sparked a debate between those who accused
him of insulting the war dead and those who defended the right of
people to air their views no matter how offensive to others.
House, who lives in Clarendon Road in the former mining village,
was detained for more than a day under the Malicious Communications
Act and had his phone seized by police.
The meeting yesterday took place under the police's "restorative
House's agreement to take part means he will not be
Poppy burning teenager
Linford House meets armed forces representatives
House, who is on a practical environmental studies building
course, was moved out of Aylesham for his own safety after the
His grandfather Ronald was a merchant navy seaman who was
awarded a workers' VC for diving into icy water to try to save a
sailor near the coast of Newfoundland in 1954.
And his father Keith, who plays for Snowdown Colliery Rugby
Club, described his son's actions as stupid and said he could not
remember posting the picture on the internet after a night out.
House met the veterans on the same day the director of public
prosecutions Keir Starmer said people should face a trial only if
comments on Facebook go beyond being offensive.
What do you think? Join the debate below.
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