Student fined £10,000 apologises after huge house party 'got out of hand'
A student who was fined £10,000 for holding a house party with 50 guests has apologised after what was meant to be a small gathering ‘got out of hand’.
Stuart Hawk, 19, and his housemates claimed they only invited 25 people to their shared house in Lenton, Nottingham, on Friday night but dozens more turned up unexpectedly.
The Nottingham University politics student was among the first to be slapped with a big fine for organising a gathering that broke coronavirus restrictions.
He was given the chance to end the party by the local council before the police came and issued the massive penalty.
Hawk, who attended the £10,000-a-term Bromsgrove School in Worcestershire, hasn’t said whether he plans to appeal.
He told MailOnline: ‘We don’t want to talk about what happened. It has all been a big shock. Of course we would all like to apologise to any neighbour who might have been offended.’
Another of the students in the house said: ‘It was meant to be a small gathering with mates and it got out of hand.
‘We had invited 25 people and it was out in the garden and aimed to end at 11pm and we were trying to social distance but then people invited their mates and so on. It got out of hand and we are really sorry.’
The group have handwritten letters to their neighbours to apologise for what they called a ‘foolish gathering’ and ‘major lapse in judgement.’
Residents living nearby said they lost count of the number of people seen going into the address and welcomed the fine as a way of ‘warning others’ against doing the same thing.
Kate Loewenthal, who chairs the Lenton Drives and Neighbours Residents’ Association, said: ’I would never wish this £10,000 fine on anyone but there has to be a message that goes out. It is about saving lives.’
But other neighbours told MailOnline that the students are ‘nice guys’ and called the £10,000 fine ‘over the top’, saying a smaller penalty would have had the same effect.
The party was held on the final weekend before the new ‘rule of six’ comes into force, restricting the number of people who can meet up indoors and outdoors to no more than six.
Assistant chief constable Steve Cooper from Nottinghamshire Police said officers were prepared to use ‘the full weight of the law’ to prevent the spread of Covid-19 across the city and county.
He added: ‘We need to all remember we are very much still in the middle of a global pandemic and we all need to take responsibility for our actions.
‘This party was a clear example of a householder who deliberately flouted the rules without a care for anyone else and as a result we have used the full powers we have to deal with this.’
Nottingham is currently seeing a spike in coronavirus cases among the 18 to 35 year olds and there are fears they could spread it to more vulnerable members of the community.
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