Aussie sent home: drunken rampage
Sat, 04 Aug 2012 7:29a.m.
Australian rower Josh Booth is being sent home from the London Olympics in disgrace after damaging two shops in a drunken rampage.
An emotional and remorseful Booth fronted reporters alongside Australian Olympic team boss Nick Green on Friday near the rowing venue at Eton Dorney and apologised for his actions on the night after his men's eight crew finished last in the Olympic final.
Green said police had decided to lay no charges against 21-year-old Booth and he had personally apologised to the shop owners affected and arranged to pay for the damage, which was about STG1400 ($NZ2683).
Green said he was being expelled from the team and would be required to return to Australia because his actions were not consistent with the Australian Olympic team's values.
Both Green and Booth read from statements and took no questions.
"The damage I caused was not motivated by any malicious intent to steal or destroy but was rather an emotional outburst, an inappropriate expression of my disappointment and frustration at our result in a very hard-fought final," Booth said.
"As a young athlete I have made a very grave and public mistake."
Windows at two businesses in Egham, southwest of London, were damaged, and the men's eight crew member was arrested before passing out at the local police station and hitting his head.
He was taken to hospital as a precaution and later released, returning to police for questioning on Friday.
A staff member at one damaged business told AAP that police had said the rower was confused, and mistakenly thought he was breaking into his own home.
Surrey Police said no charges would be levelled against Booth.
"Mr Booth is extremely fortunate that the victims in this case have accepted the offer of reparation, as there are no excuses for criminal damage, whatever the circumstances," Chief Superintendent Gavin Stephens said.
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