London 2012: Australian rower arrested after drunkenly damaging Surrey shops will apologise and pay repair bill
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Friday 03 August 2012
An Australian rower who was arrested after he allegedly damaged shops in a Surrey town while blind drunk is to make a personal apology to business owners and pay the repair bill for the damage he caused.
The Australian national Olympic committee will announce later today whether the 21-year-old athlete will be sent home in disgrace following the incident on Thursday when, still dressed in his team's distinctive gold tracksuit, he is claimed to have gone on the rampage in Egham.
Booth had made his Olympic debut on Wednesday, finishing last with his team mates in the men's eight at Eton Dorney in Surrey. He was arrested in the early hours of Thursday after windows were smashed at two businesses - an engineering firm and a restaurant. It is alleged that Booth, who was filmed by CCTV cameras buying a kebab shortly before the incident, broke the windows in the apparent belief that he was breaking into his own home.
He was released on bail by Surrey Police after being taken to hospital for treatment when he fell while being breathalysed.
Mike Tancred, spokesman for the Australian NOC, said: "We have been telling our athletes to be very respectful of their hosts so what happened is very disappointing. Josh is going to make a formal apology to the shop keepers and will be paying the £1,400 bill to cover the cost of the damage.
"He is also going to issue a general public apology. We are working with the police to reach an effective resolution to this matter."
Chris Fylder, deputy chef de mission for the Australian squad, added: "Josh is very apologetic and embarassed about what's happened and certainly wants to make good for any damage he caused. It's quite out of character for Josh and he really can't explain why he actually conducted himself in that particular way but accepts that is what happened and is prepared for any of the repercussions that result."
Surrey Police did not immediately respond to request for a comment on the incident.
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