I was naive, admits girl whose party ruined listed house

The teenager whose 18th birthday party was gatecrashed by hundreds of revellers after a "shout-out" by the Radio 1 DJ Pete Tong has admitted being "foolish and naive".

Police were pelted with glass and used dogs to disperse up to 2,000 youths who caused £2,000-worth of damage to a Grade II listed building after Tong announced the party live on air on Friday night.

The programme had been contacted by one of the 300 guests who had been personally invited to the Georgian manor house near Bovey Tracey in Devon by Sarah Ruscoe, 17.

Yesterday Ms Ruscoe, a pupil at Torquay Grammar School, confessed to "putting up a poster at school and inviting 'everyone'".

"Little did I know almost everyone from Torquay Grammar sixth form would attend and what is more invite 'everyone' from different schools and the surrounding area," she said. "Admittedly perhaps I was foolish and naive but how often does a poster cause chaos and devastation?

"I soon realised it was spiralling out of control during the last week of the countdown until the party," she added. "By the last day I felt physically ill with worry but chose to keep my mother in denial for her own sake."

Her mother, Rebecca Brooks, is threatening to sue the BBC after chandeliers were smashed, windows and mirrors cracked, and pictures ripped off walls. "I think it's totally negligent of the BBC to allow a statement like that to be broadcast," Mrs Brooks, 54, said. "There are so many kids around with nothing to do on a Friday night, so when they hear there's about to be a big party on the radio they're going to go."

The BBC denied that a "shout out" by Tong was responsible for the gatecrashers' descent. "Pete did not specify the name or address of the venue, but read out details of a mansion party taking place in Bovey Tracey sent in by a listener," a spokeswoman said. "He gives shout-outs on his show every week – listeners are familiar with this format – and he would never knowingly give an identifiable address for a private party."

The item declared: "We're getting ready for a huge mansion party – 500 people going – it's in Bovey Tracey in Devon, tipping us off on that, anyone who's listening can come along, apparently – just say hi to Marilyn Monroe on the door."

Police officers were not called about the party, but went to the house at 10.30pm after they heard the announcement on Tong's programme. Riot vans and dogs followed. By the time the first police arrived at the house, Ms Ruscoe had set off the fire alarm to try to discourage gatecrashers. Four bouncers hired to oversee security had been overwhelmed.

Ms Ruscoe said she "went into hiding for a while", and broke down in tears before police had dispersed the last of the revellers.

Blocking the private drive to the house to stop the gatecrashers returning, police pushed the youths back toward Bovey Tracey, a small town on the edge of Dartmoor. After taxis were ordered to clear lingering partygoers, police reported disturbances in two nearby pubs and made three arrests.

The party had also been advertised on the social networking sites MySpace and Facebook.

The 21-bedroom house, Colehayes Park, stands in 20 acres of grounds and is used as a venue for school trips and weddings.

The party was to mark Ms Ruscoe's 18th birthday later this year.

Teenage parties from hell


She was questioned by police in April last year after using the internet to invite teenagers from across the country to come to a wild party and "trash" her parents' home in Co Durham while they were away. More than £20,000-worth of damage was caused when 200 revellers descended on the £230,000 detached house in a quiet cul-de-sac near near Houghton-le-Spring. Describing the bash as a "Skins Unofficial Party", a reference to the Channel 4 drama series about the exploits of teenagers, she promoted her party on the social networking website MySpace, calling it a "let's trash the average family-sized house disco party".


Five hundred teenagers attended a party at his home in Melbourne, Australia. Police who came to investigate noise were driven off by drunken guests. By the time reinforcements arrived with dogs, revellers had caused £9,200-worth of damage. Delaney told reporters that he was giving up plans to become a carpenter, and would instead become a DJ and a professional party host.


She could not resist issuinga few more invites than her mother had initially agreed to when she asked if she could host a quiet "sleepover" at the family home. More than 50 youngsters converged on the newly decorated £250,000 house on a quiet street in Woking, Surrey, causing more than £5,000-worth of damage, stealing jewellery and laptops and leaving graffiti. Gemma's mother and stepfather returned from what was meant to be a relaxing weekend in London to find the family dog "comatose" on the kitchen floor after it had chewed on unidentified pills.

Ben Quinn

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executives - Outbound & Inbound

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Recruitment Genius: National Account Manager / Key Account Sales

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Consultant

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'