Man jailed for vandalising Tommy statue

Published: 21 June 2019

 

A man has been jailed for vandalising the Tommy statue in the town centre.

Shoeib Sharifi, 41, of Blair Road, Slough, admitted criminal damage of the statue when he appeared before Justices of the Peace.

He was given a four week sentence for damaging beyond repair the town’s memorial to commemorate 100 years since the end of World War I.

The silhouette of a Tommy was put up on a plinth in the High Street in November 2018 at a ceremony presided over by The Mayor, as part of the ‘There but not there’ campaign to remember soldiers killed in the First World War as the 100 years mark was reached.

The metal outline of the soldier, complete with back pack and rifle, was bent and twisted by Sharifi who reached up and grabbed the sculpture, dragged it down and pulled it out of shape leaving it at a right angle to the ground.

The warped metal was left in such a dangerous position which could have hurt a pedestrian; it had to be cut from the five foot high stone plinth which now stands empty.

The vandalism was caught on CCTV at 3.24am on Thursday 21 March and reported to Thames Valley Police.

Slough Borough Council released an image of a man who was seen near the statue around the time of the incident and he was identified because of the CCTV footage, as Sharifi.

Councillor Martin Carter, cabinet member for inclusive growth and skills, said: “We will not tolerate vandals destroying poignant memorials in our town and will pursue prosecutions.

“This was a disgraceful act of vandalism on something which was there to commemorate those soldiers who died and had their lives changed by the First World War.
“We thank Thames Valley Police for investigating this case which has ultimately led to a successful prosecution.”

At an earlier hearing at Slough Magistrates’ Court prosecutor Tina Flannery said Sharifi had been in an amusement arcade in the High Street before leaving with another man.

She said: “He was intoxicated on alcohol and cannabis at the time of the offence.

“This incident is very sensitive by the very nature of the statue and caused a lot of disquiet in the locality afterwards.”

His defence solicitor said he had no recollection of committing the vandalism.

Sharifi was given a total of 16 weeks in jail on Wednesday 19 June after he admitted other offences of which four weeks was apportioned by the magistrates specifically for the criminal damage of the Tommy statue. No order was made for compensation.

There is a second Tommy silhouette which stands in The Curve. There are no plans to replace the damaged Tommy.