UK News Electronic Telegraph
Thursday 11 September 1997
Issue 839

Punch in face for teddy bear thief
By Barbie Dutter

Half favour William as next King

A SARDINIAN tourist who stole a child's teddy bear left in tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales, escaped prison yesterday but was punched in the face as he left court.

Fabio Piras was jailed initially for seven days for stealing the toy from outside St James's Palace but was later recalled to be offered an alternative of a ý100 fine.

As Piras left Bow Street magistrates' court in central London, he met the wrath of a passer-by who said "My Diana" and struck him with his fist, bruising the right side of his face.

Piras had pleaded guilty to stealing the bear - described in the charge as a "soft toy and condolence card belonging to Regina" - on Tuesday, his 20th birthday. It had been placed outside the palace by a child and bore the words: "Diana we love you."

He was arrested after being chased by mourners who saw him steal the bear. Piras said he took the toy for Michela, his girlfriend in Sardinia. He had been in Britain for 20 days and intended to leave on Oct 1. He had been living rough for several days.

His attacker, Gerard Moorehouse, a 43-year-old former builder, admitted losing his temper but had no regrets. "I did it for Britain," he said.

Back home in Sardinia, his mother Alda, 52, said: "He's going to be in trouble when he comes home."

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