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Ex-Olympian who smeared pig’s blood in Tory peer’s home handed suspended sentence

PUBLISHED: 23:23 03 December 2018 | UPDATED: 06:58 04 December 2018

Ex-Olympic showjumper Lizzie Purbrick was handed a suspended jail term after she failed to complete a single hour of her 120 hours' community order. Picture: Nigel Chapman

Ex-Olympic showjumper Lizzie Purbrick was handed a suspended jail term after she failed to complete a single hour of her 120 hours' community order. Picture: Nigel Chapman

Nigel Chapman

A former Olympic showjumper who used pig’s blood to daub lewd messages on the “love nest” of a Tory peer has admitted ignoring her court sentence.

Elizabeth Purbrick, more commonly known as Lizzie, had used a garden sprayer and several litres of pig’s blood to cover the walls of Conservative peer David Prior’s home after she found he had cheated on her.

She was given a 12-month community order with 120 hours’ unpaid work in July for criminal damage but has not completed a single hour, magistrates in King’s Lynn heard on Monday.

The court heard that the National Probation Service was unhappy that this happened when Purbrick flew from South Africa to be interviewed on ITV’s This Morning about the original offence.

Damien Moore, prosecuting, said when Purbrick was sentenced at Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court she said she intended to fly to South Africa. It had been made clear to her that she must complete the unpaid work before doing so.

Purbrick told the probation service she was due to return to the UK for a month on September 7 and agreed for the unpaid work to be suspended until then.

Mr Moore said: “Unknown to probation, on July 30 was back in the UK and she appeared on This Morning doing an interview regarding the original offence. Probation had not been notified that she was coming back to the UK on that date.”

The court was told that special arrangements were made for her to complete the unpaid work between September 17 and October 6, but she did not turn up on the first day.

“That is a wilful breach by Miss Purbrick,” said Mr Moore. “She has deliberately ignored instructions to remain in the UK to complete the unpaid work and it is very clear that she has been back to the UK on at least one occasion that the probation service is aware of.

“To date, a total of 256 hours’ unpaid work have been offered – none has been completed.

“She has made it very clear to the media that she is unrepentant about her offence and no doubt that is her motivation for not doing the unpaid work.”

Purbrick, who gave her current address as her son’s home in Johannesburg, shuffled into court using a walking stick, saying she had been “severely kicked” by a horse that morning.

The 63-year-old, who lived in West Acre, near Swaffham, at the time of the original offence, admitted failing to comply with the requirements of the community order.

In mitigation, Simon Nicholls said: “I’m so glad the National Probation Service knows what goes on in my clients’ minds. It’s very useful - it would probably speed matters up if they do that.

“They have decided that she hasn’t done the order because she doesn’t regret doing the original offence. Or the other side of the coin is that after all this has happened she had nowhere to live. She was living in an old caravan on somebody’s farm that she couldn’t stay in anymore and she hadn’t got any other accommodation in the UK. She had to return to South Africa where her son lives.

“The National Probation Service obviously are keen watchers of breakfast TV. What they don’t appreciate is she came across for the interview and went straight back afterwards. She wasn’t staying in the UK at the time.”

Mr Nicholls said the break-up of Purbrick’s relationship had brought her life to a “destructive point”, both mentally and physically through drink.

He told magistrates: “You’re going to say is this someone living in King’s Lynn who is not bothering to turn up for her community service or is this someone who is really down and has the chance with family in South Africa to put this whole incident behind her?”

Mr Nicholls was astonished to learn that the bench had not heard about the original case since it had been in “just about every national newspaper”.

He said: “The facts are very simple. She was in a relationship with a named individual. After seven and a half years that relationship broke up acrimoniously. She took blood from a butcher’s shop in Wells and went down to their love nest in London, tipped blood in the flat and wrote things on the wall.”

He suggested that probation might want to see his client locked up because it was a “high-profile case”.

Chairman of the bench, Jean Bonnick, told Purbrick: “Mr Nicholls made somewhat sarcastic remarks about probation’s summary about your motivation for not completing this work. But we read in one of your references that you sometimes regard adherence to rules and regulations as somewhat tiresome and think you can get away with things.

“We do find there is wilful persistence not to do this order.”

The order was revoked as being “unworkable” because of Purbrick’s current residence. She was handed a 28-day prison sentence, suspended for 12 months due to “medical issues”.

She was also given two five-day custodial sentences to run concurrently – one for outstanding fines and the other for the £250 prosecution costs of the latest case. Both are suspended until the amounts are settled.

Purbrick competed for Great Britain in the 1980 Olympic Games.

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