A group of homeless men have been convicted of laughing in the face of a Cambridge University student after he approached them lying on a park bench outside a convenience store in Cambridge. Giles Bartley-Atkins, 21, a member of Cambridge University Conservative Association, asked the group if they could spare him some loose change as he needed it for a parking meter.
Video footage showed one of the homeless men waving a 10p piece in front of his Porsche Macan while another was heard taunting him, saying the ten pence piece should have been two fives or ‘better still’ ten penny pieces. He was then seen putting the 10p piece back in his pocket and urinating on it through his trousers, before falling over and fighting himself.
Bartley-Atkins told the judge he needed 10p for a parking meter but all he had in his pocket was ‘three or four thousand pounds in £50 notes’. At first, the men offered him a drink from his bottle of Tennants Super, but then it turned ugly and another of them tied the Porsche to the parking meter with a string from around his dog’s neck.
Ordering the men to be admitted to a clinic for treatment for alcohol dependency, Recorder James Digby said: ‘You are fortunate I am sparing you from a custodial sentence this time. Mr. Bartley-Atkins was cold and hungry, having driven through ten miles of heavy traffic with the top down on his Porsche. To treat him in this manner knowing his table was waiting was heartless and cruel’.
However, a friend of Bartley-Atkins criticised the sentence as too lenient: ‘These people don’t realise just how difficult it is to find a parking spot outside a Michelin star restaurant at night,’ he said. ‘It’s an absolute nightmare. There are no end of park benches in Cambridge for them to choose from – they don’t know just how lucky they are’.