'Restorative justice' as vandal who damaged Coventry Cathedral meets clergy to apologise - The Coventry Observer

'Restorative justice' as vandal who damaged Coventry Cathedral meets clergy to apologise

Coventry Editorial 8th May, 2023   0

A REMORSE vandal who stained the Coventry Cathedral statue has apologised for the damage he caused.

The man has met with a member of its clergy to offer a face-to-face apology and compensation for the incident, as part of West Midlands Police’s restorative justice process.

Officers worked with the Cathedral which preferred to speak with the 20-year-old, rather than press criminal charges.

The aim of the decision was for him to better under and learn about the impact of his actions which happened at the end of a night out last month.

He attended the meeting with friends – who were also present at the time the St Michael’s Victory over the Devil statue was damaged. During his visit, he fully apologised to take responsibility and offer remorse for the error of judgement.

Restorative justice sees offenders make amends in ways which directly benefit those harmed. The benefits for victims include having the chance ask the offender questions and have their say on how incident has affected them.

Rev Mary Gregory, Canon for Arts and Reconciliation at the Cathedral, said: “It was not easy for the person who damaged the statue to come to the Cathedral to apologise.

“They – and their friends who chose to accompany them for this conversation – were clearly ashamed by their actions and wanted, not only to apologise, but also to contribute towards the cost of making good the damage they’d caused.

“They listened carefully to what I was able to share with them about the importance of the Cathedral and its story, not only to the people of Coventry, but also to people all around the world.

“That Cathedral story is, at its heart, one of reconciliation where, instead of seeking revenge, we choose the more challenging path of forgiveness and growing understanding. ┬áIn a small way, the resolution of this incident lives this story out.

“We hope that the conversation we have had will stay with this group of friends and that it will shape their future actions.”

Det Insp Stew Lewis, from Coventry CID, added: “Victims of crime are at the heart of everything we do, and we always respect and support their wishes.

“Restorative justice is powerful in that it enables them to speak directly to offenders about the harm their actions have caused; while allowing those responsible to show their remorse and look to make amends.

“In this instance, it was an approach supported by everyone involved rather than pursue a criminal prosecution. I believe life lessons have been better learned through this process.”

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