Nelson statue vandalism cost £2,400 to clean up

It cost nearly £2,400 to clean and restore the vandalised Nelson statue in the grounds of Norwich Ca

It cost nearly £2,400 to clean and restore the vandalised Nelson statue in the grounds of Norwich Cathedral. Picture: Daniel Moxon - Credit: Archant

Cleaning up graffiti daubed on a statue of Admiral Lord Nelson by a teenager who said she wanted to “start a debate” cost almost £2,400 to clean up.

Jae Ikhera, 19, of Braithwait Close, in Clover Hill, Norwich, admitted two counts of criminal damage on the statue in the grounds of Norwich Cathedral, when she appeared at Norwich Magistrates Court.

Ikhera, who received a 12-month conditional discharge, was ordered to pay a £22 victim surcharge although there was no order for costs or compensation.

But Norwich City Council said removing getting the statue professionally cleaned and restored meant a bill of nearly £2,400.

Ikhera’s solicitor Simon Nicholls had said: “Jae intended to start a debate about Lord Nelson which Jae has been successful in doing.”

Speaking after the case, she said: “I know a lot of people in Norwich were fairly outraged by my actions but people have then talked about it so it has kind of achieved what I wanted it to.”

But Chris Brett, vice-chairman of The Nelson Society, run by enthusiasts to promote interest in and appreciation of the character and life of Nelson, said: “The Nelson Society was extremely disappointed at the acts despoiling the Nelson statue in Norwich.

“The Nelson Society strongly refutes the suggestion that Nelson was a racist and is more than willing to discuss and debate Nelson’s role in the history of the period, and his views and actions, with any party or individual who wishes to engage.”

Burnham Thorpe-born Nelson is regarded as Britain’s greatest seafaring hero, but, in the light of the Black Lives Matter protests, his views come under fresh scrutiny.

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That focused on a private letter, revealed after his death, written to plantation owner Simon Taylor. In it, he stated his opposition to William Wilberforce, who was campaigning for the abolition of the slave trade.

Norwich Cathedral previously said further consideration will be given to the “context and interpretation” of the statue.The Dean and Chapter of Norwich Cathedral said: “Like all human beings, Horatio Nelson was a flawed person. He did many things for which he is now honoured but also others which were much less admirable. All lives are complex, and his legacy should be understood as a whole.”