Teenage boy who burned a poppy apologises to West Norfolk war widow
14:16 21 December 2012
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A teenager who sparked public outrage by burning a poppy on Remembrance Sunday has apologised in person to West Norfolk war widow Nikki Scott.
Linford House was arrested and his phone seized after he posted the offensive image on Facebook in the early hours of November 11 during a night out with friends.
The 19-year-old, from Kent, will not face prosecution, but agreed to meet some of those affected by his actions as part of a police restorative justice programme.
Among them was Nikki Scott, founder of the King’s Lynn-based charity Scotty’s Little Soldiers which supports the children of fallen servicemen and women.
The mother-of-two, whose husband Lee was killed in Afghanistan in 2009, was presented with a Millie award for her work in a star-studded ceremony attended by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall earlier this month.
The meeting, hosted by Kent Police sergeant Jim Watson on Wednesday, was also attended by Garrison Sergeant Major John Garrity, investigating officer Detective Sergeant Neil Watford, Paula Kitching from the Royal British Legion, and ex-serviceman Mark Horton.
Speaking at the event, Mr House 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 did. I’m sorry to everyone that it’s offended.”
Mr House also suggested a number of ways in which he could work with the Royal British Legion and the Scotty’s Little Soldiers in the future.
Mrs Scott 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 and disgusted.
“It was good to see Mr House talk to us and apologise and hopefully he will be able to go some way to making up for some of the offence he caused.”
Scotty’s has collected and distributed dozens of presents to bring a smile to bereaved children this Christmas.
Chief Constable Ian Learmonth said: “Matters reported to us are taken very seriously but often the outcome is one where we want to influence a change in behaviour by those involved. Restorative practice allows us to do that effectively.
“The wishes and views of the victim are at the heart of the process.” Visit www.scottyslittlesoldiers.co.uk