Published: 12:17, 11 April 2019
| Updated: 10:21, 12 April 2019
A student from Kent accused of chiselling off 20 floor tiles from a Roman mosaic in Pompeii says she wants to clear her name.
Italian police reported earlier this week that a 21-year-old woman was visiting the archaeological site with her father and sister, when she climbed over a safety barrier and used a sharp object to cut the 8mmx8mm tiles from the floor.
The woman - now named by The Sun as Caprice Arnold from Tunbridge Wells - is then said to have been spotted by a caretaker who alerted the police to the damage, which was estimated to total €3,000 (£2,585).
However, Miss Arnold, who was on a family holiday to celebrate her birthday, has denied putting the tiles in her bag, claiming she only bent down to inspect them, and said she was not searched or given a translator at the Casa dell'Ancora villa.
She told the newspaper: “I was so scared. I have done nothing wrong.”
“I kept trying to explain but I don’t speak Italian and they didn’t speak English.
“We tried to be as helpful as possible, just thinking they would realise it was all a big misunderstanding.
“They have since said I had tiles and some kind of tool in my bag but that is 100 per cent not true, they did not even search me."
The family were told Italian authorities would send them a letter upon their return to the UK, but have not received anything, according to The Sun.
She added: “It ruined the trip from then on and I was not able to enjoy it.
“It was meant to be a 21st birthday celebration.
“We were walking in to the Vatican on Monday when we got the first text from home to say the story was out there and I was mortified.
“That’s why I wanted to tell my side of things.”
The Sun also reported that her father, Joey, feared local police wanted to make an example of his daughter because of fears in Italy that tourists are ruining the historic site.
More by this authorTom Pyman