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By Hollie-Rae Merrick
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
‘Silliness’ ends Santa impersonator in the dock
CHRISTMAS did not prove to be the season of goodwill for a drunken football fan who insisted on telling police he was Santa Claus.
Carl O’Connor was refused entry into Portman Road because of his intoxicated state, but made things worse by declining to give his real name to officers, pretending instead to be Father Christmas.
When he appeared before South East Suffolk Magistrates Court on New Year’s Eve, the remorseful football fan said: “I am sorry, and clearly I am not Santa Claus. I never thought it would end up how it has.
“I had too much to drink. I got an idea in my head and I wouldn’t let it go. I’m truly sorry.”
O’Connor, of Blackbush Spring, Harlow, Essex, pleaded guilty to anti-social behaviour having refused to give an officer his name and address.
Although O’Connor was handed a conditional discharge for six months, the season of good cheer did not extend to the 46-year-old being spared the expense of his folly.
The court ordered him to pay £85 court costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
O’Connor arrived at Portman Road for the clash between Ipswich Town and Millwall on December 8.
When stewards told him he could not go in because he was drunk, O’Connor became argumentative and police became involved.
Michael Crimp, prosecuting, said: “Police asked him to leave and because he wouldn’t they began to write him an order for him to leave the area.
“That then required to have his name but he refused and repeatedly said he was Santa.
“The officer warned that if he didn’t give his proper name he would be arrested, but he continued to say he was Santa.
“He was arrested at 3.28pm and charged hours later. His silliness has resulted in this.”
Sentencing O’Connor, District Judge Celia Dawson said: “Arriving drunk at a football match is not appropriate – it is a family thing.
“It’s never a good thing to argue with a police officer. I do give you credit for your guilty plea and I can see you are ashamed to be in this position.”