A man has admitted climbing onto the roof of York Minster and causing £19,000 of damage to a spire.
Joshua Webster, 31, appeared at York Crown Court today (Wednesday, August 3) when he pleaded guilty to destroying or damaging the pinnacle of the Minster’s south-west buttress.
Webster, of Langdale Avenue, York, had previously denied causing any damage to the building during his initial appearance at North Yorkshire Magistrates’ Court in June.
The prosecution said that Webster climbed over barriers surrounding the Minster during a period of renovation at the famous church building. He then climbed up scaffolding to get onto the roof, before kicking at the spire and renovated pieces of stone.
A police negotiator was needed to coax Webster down during the incident on November 24 last year.
The prosecution also alleged that Webster had live-streamed the incident on social media while he was up on the roof.
Defence barrister Charlotte Noddings said that Webster suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from a family tragedy when he was in his teens.
Judge Sean Morris, the Recorder of York, postponed sentence for psychiatric and probation reports but warned Webster that he was facing a possible jail sentence.
The judge said that before sentencing Webster he wanted to know more about him and “what was going on at the time (of the incident), whether it was a genuine illness or there were some problems, or whether you were just drunk”.
He said he would also be asking for an up-to-date damage report from York Minster before sentence on October 14.
Webster was released on unconditional bail until that date.