Ingham charged with damage

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SIR BERNARD Ingham, Margaret Thatcher's press secretary during most of her tenure of Downing Street, was yesterday charged with criminal damage.

Scotland Yard said Sir Bernard, 66, would appear at Croydon Magistrates Court tomorrow.

He was charged at Croydon police station with causing criminal damage to a sliver Mercedes car in December last year.

The alleged offence took place on a Sunday afternoon at the rear of a building in the road in Purley, south London, where Sir Bernard lives, said a Metropolitan Police spokesman. Sir Bernard is accused of causing damage worth less than pounds 2,000 to the saloon car. He ison police bail.

Last night he said: ``I shall say what I have to say in court. I don't think it will be a substantive hearing on Tuesday.''

Asked how he was going to plead, Sir Bernard said: ``I am not saying what I shall do. I personally have never seen any damage. I have had trouble for 10 years, and I think the full facts will come out in court."

Relations between Sir Bernard and a neighbour, builder Barry Cripps, became unfriendly soon after the latter moved into "Nutcracker Gables" a decade ago.