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Drunken man jailed for mansion damage

PUBLISHED: 04:23 28 June 2002 | UPDATED: 12:10 03 March 2010

A DRUNKEN homeless man who used a metal litter bin to smash the windows of a historic Ipswich building has been jailed.

Richard Fieldstead drunk four pints of lager and ten cans before breaking the windows at the town's Christchurch Mansion.

A DRUNKEN homeless man who used a metal litter bin to smash the windows of a historic Ipswich building has been jailed.

Richard Fieldstead drunk four pints of lager and ten cans before breaking the windows at the town's Christchurch Mansion.

The 45-year-old had been drinking all-day before causing between £800 to £1,000 worth of damage to the 16th century mansion, South East Suffolk Magistrates were told.

Gareth Davies, prosecuting, told the court Fieldstead deliberately vandalised the windows so he could have a bed for the night.

He was arrested after he was spotted by a worker at the mansion, who contacted police.

Mark Holt, mitigating, said Fieldstead had made a full and frank admission but had recently been sleeping rough.

Sentencing Fieldstead to six weeks behind bars, bench chair Anne Walker said: "The aggravating features of this offence is that it was a very deliberate action.

"You had consumed a great deal of alcohol and caused significant damage to a local building of historical importance."

Earlier an Ipswich Borough Council spokesman told The Star two windows, framework and some masonary in the West Wing of Christchurch Mansion were damaged.

Council officials had close three rooms for safety reasons. The rest of the building, including the new tea-room is open as usual.

The spokesman added: "We are saddened by the attack but are heartened by the fact the strong construction of the mansion stood up to it so well."

Christchurch Mansion is a 16th century manor house set in a historic 100 acre park and opened in 1896 as a free museum.

It houses a fine collection of work by Suffolk artists, including the best collection of the work of Constable and Gainsborough outside London.

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