'OUT OF HAND'
Student, 19, fined £10,000 for 50-person house party slams ‘ridiculous’ punishment – but admits he is ‘very sorry’by Tracey Kandohla
A STUDENT fined £10,000 for a house party has slammed the “ridiculous” punishment but admitted he was “very sorry” to his neighbours.
Stuart Hawk, 19, is furious over the hefty penalty despite inviting 50 friends over to his flat in Lenton, Notts.
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He told SunOnline: “This fine is a ridiculous amount. The party got out of hand, for that I am very sorry but it was not meant to offend.”
The politics student, who went to a £30k-a-year school in Worcestershire, blamed a “lapse of judgement” on throwing the party.
But asked if he would be footing the bill himself or if his housemates would chip in, Stuart replied: “I cannot comment, I have been told not to.”
Cops dished the hefty fine for their self-confessed "out of hand" Friday night bash just days before the new "rule of six" comes into play.
This fine is a ridiculous amount. The party got out of hand, for that I am very sorry but it was not meant to offend.Stuart Hawk
He told the MailOnline: "We don't want to talk about what happened. It has all been a big shock. Of course we would all like to apologise to any neighbour who might have been offended."
"It was never our intention to disrupt your evening. It was a major lapse of judgement on our end given both the disturbance we caused as well as the current pandemic that is taking a toll on our society."
Mr Hawk, a Nottingham University politics student, was today unmasked as a former boarder at the £30,000 per year Bromsgrove School in Worcestershire.
One of the students told the MailOnline that the party was supposed to end at 11pm.
It is thought the fine - which is the maximum financial penalty under new powers introduced last month to crackdown on illegal parties - will be split between the housemates.
Martin Hewitt, chairman of the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC), today said the fine sent a "clear message" to the public.
He told BBC Breakfast: "I think it's a real shame, that individual was given a number of opportunities to comply and to act in a different way and chose not to.
"But I do think it's equally important that that fine was issued and the message was sent very clearly to people.
"Everybody finds the rules restrictive on our lives, every single person in the country is restricted in that way, but I think we've all got a responsibility to comply with the rules."
Furious neighbour Kate Loewenthal lashed out at the trouble-makers for thinking "they're young and untouchable", insisting that she warned them several times to keep the noise down.
Ms Loewenthal told The Sun Online: "I received a letter of apology, it was a heartfelt apology and they said they were really sorry for any trouble they had caused and the party had been misjudged.
|The grovelling letter|
I am writing to apologise for any upset that was caused as a result of a foolish gathering that we hosted last night.
With two housemates turning 21 recently, we were hoping to have a celebration that stayed within the guidelines of the current covid-19 regulations, however it quickly became out of hand as more than the initial 25 invited friends arrived at our house.
It was never our intention to disrupt your evening. It was a major lapse of judgement on our end given both the disturbance we caused as well as the current pandemic that is taking a toll on our society.
We are eager to make amends and plus if there is anything we can do in the future please don’t hesitate to let us know!
Our most sincere apologises.
"It came through my letterbox on Saturday. I appreciate their effort.
"I don’t want to comment on whether one should be fined £10,000 but they can’t just get away with a warning, it needs to be more significant."
The local residents' association chairwoman, who lives opposite where the rowdy party was, insisted it was not her who called the police - although "thankfully someone else did".
She added: "There were lots of concerns from residents, we’re pleased action was taken, it needed to be sorted. These students need to understand and be punished.
"They are putting other people at harm and at risk and maybe even themselves. It’s a lovely residential neighbourhood and students are lucky to live here.
"We welcome students but they push things to the extreme. At the beginning of lockdown we had another group screeching at the top of their voices till 3-4 in the morning, loud and drunk, and keeping everyone awake.
They are putting other people at harm and at risk and maybe even themselves. It’s a lovely residential neighbourhood and students are lucky to live here.Kate Loewenthal
"Our biggest concern is that we have a lot of elderly and vulnerable residents and it would be devastating if they caught the virus. We need to protect our community which includes students."
Assistant chief constable Steve Cooper from Nottinghamshire Police said officers were prepared to use "the full weight of the law" to prevent the spread of Covid-19 across the city and county.
He added: "We need to all remember we are very much still in the middle of a global pandemic and we all need to take responsibility for our actions.
"This party was a clear example of a householder who deliberately flouted the rules without a care for anyone else and as a result we have used the full powers we have to deal with this.
"Under current rules we can issue fines to anyone hosting gatherings of more than 30 people which can result in fines of up to £10,000.
"And now we are on the eve of rules becoming even tighter so there can be gatherings of no more than six."
Blame for a surge in coronavirus cases has increasingly been put on younger people.
This week Health Secretary Matt Hancock pointed the finger at under 25s living in some of the country's richest areas who, he said, were not social distancing.
He told LBC on Monday: "We are seeing problems with social distancing. The rise in cases is largely among younger people, under 25s, especially between 17 and 21.
"The message is that even though you are at lower risk of dying of Covid if you are of that age, you can still have really serious symptoms and consequences.
"Also, you can infect other people."
"Inevitably it leads to older people catching it from them [the young].
"Spreading the disease amongst young people leads to older people getting it.
"It is important for everybody to wash your hands and follow social distancing. It's 'hands, face, space.'"
But critics have hit back arguing that young people cannot shoulder the blame after the Government urged the nation to eat out to help out - a scheme which an Oxford researcher said may be linked to the rise in cases.