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Four face trial over toppling of Bristol statue of slave trader Edward Colston

Four face trial over toppling of Bristol statue of slave trader Edward Colston
Rhian Graham, 29, Milo Ponsford, 25, Jake Skuse, 36, and Sage Willoughby, 21, will go on trial at Bristol Crown Court accused of criminal damage.

Four people are to go on trial accused of criminal damage in relation to the toppling of a statue of slave trader Edward Colston

Rhian Graham, 29, Milo Ponsford, 25, Jake Skuse, 36, and Sage Willoughby, 21, will go on trial at Bristol Crown Court after denying charges of criminal damage.

The bronze memorial to the 17th century slave merchant was pulled down during a Black Lives Matter protest on June 7 last year, before being dumped in Bristol Harbour and later recovered by Bristol City Council.

From left, Milo Ponsford, Rhian Graham and Jake Skuse arrive at Bristol Crown Court earlier this year (Ben Birchall/PA)

Charges allege that the four defendants, together with “others unknown”, damaged the Colston statue and plinth of a value unknown without lawful excuse.

Graham is of Colston Road, Bristol, Ponsford is of Otter Close, Bishopstoke, Hampshire Skuse is of Farley Close, Bristol, and Willoughby is of Gloucester Road, Bristol. They are all on unconditional bail.

Judge Peter Blair QC, the Recorder of Bristol, will preside over the trial.

Sage Willoughby arrives at Bristol Crown Court for a previous hearing (Ben Birchall/PA)

Legal representatives of three of the defendants said they would fight the charges “vigorously”.