The father of one of the young vandals who broke into a couple’s £1.2million Isle of Wight home before smashing antiques, paintings and stained-glass windows today spoke of his ‘shock and shame’ as he revealed his son has not even apologised.
Joanna and Matt Pittard’s six bedroom house on the Isle of Wight was targeted by ‘mindless’ youths who also damaged a wrought-iron chandelier, flipped over antique furniture and destroyed the homeowner’s wedding dress.
The bedroom look like a war-zone
Chainsaws, axes and sledgehammers taken from the garage were used in ‘every bedroom of the property’ after the youngsters ran riot, leaving it looking like ‘a war zone’.
Now the father of one of the ‘evil child vandals’ says he wants to personally apologise to the Pittards, who have been left ‘devastated’ by the damage caused to their beautiful home while they were away.
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline from his home in Shanklin, on the island, he said: ‘When the police showed me the video of the damage caused I was really shocked.
‘Totally shocked. I couldn’t believe what they had done. It was awful. There was so much mess and damage.
‘I really do feel so sorry for the owners. If I saw them, I would apologise for what my son did. They did not deserve this. I just feel shame.’
Why the house was targeted?
The father said his son and his friends had targeted the house because it was supposed to be haunted.
The Grade II listed building features in the Ghosts of Isle of Wight book and is a stopping off point for ghost walks in the area.
According to The Original Ghosts of the Isle of Wight by Gay Baldwin, a maid died in an upstairs room after being locked up as punishment.
Locals are said to have seen a ghostly face peering out of the window of the home leading many to believe the property – a former rectory – is haunted by the dead woman.
‘The house isn’t too far from where we live. I think they chose it because it was supposed to have a ghost. It is close by and that was probably the reason they went inside,’ he said.
The father lives with his partner and their teenage son in a terraced home that is a far cry from the splendour of the vandalised house which the Pittard family planned to use as a second home.
The son, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was 13 when he joined the group of local youths, one as young as 11, to smash up the Pittard’s house.
The gang of seven, who are now all aged between 13 and 16 and cannot be named for legal reasons, caused mayhem when they broke into the property last May.
Bleach, paint and ketchup was splattered around the house in the popular tourist town of Shanklin leading to the value of the home to reduce by £300,000.
The gang, who were described in court as ‘evil’, also attempted to set fire to the house and turned on the bathroom taps to flood the home.
Graffiti was also scrawled over the walls and glass from shattered windows all over the place.
Mrs Pittard said she felt ‘violated’ after seeing the damage caused by the mob.
The teenager, who is now aged 14 was given a 12-month referral order and ordered to pay £1,500 compensation to the Pittards after pleading guilty to criminal damage.
The others, including two girls, were each given the same sentence when they appeared at Isle of Wight Magistrates Court.
At the time of the vandalism their ages ranged from 11 to 15.
Father says his son hasn’t apologized
The father, a shop assistant, who also has a 17-year-old son, admitted his son has not fully apologised for the damage caused.
He said: ‘I know in his own way he is sorry, but he has never said it to me. I know he will not do anything like this again and has not been in any trouble since last year. He has behaved.
‘When I first spoke to him about it he told me he had just smashed a window.
‘But at the Shanklin Police station I told him to tell the truth and it all came out. He was only 13 at the time, but that is no excuse. He was with the group that did all this damage.’
The father said police took his clothes away for DNA testing and believes they were able to identify him from descriptions given to them by neighbours.
He was also told some of the gang had been caught on doorbell cameras as they walked to and from the home.