Teenager who posted burning poppy picture on Facebook is punished… by meeting veterans for a cup of TEA


A teenage lout who posted a picture of a burning poppy on Facebook has been punished by meeting Army veterans and serving soldiers – for a cup of tea.

Linford House, 19, known as Linney, was arrested after the disrespectful image was seen on the internet during the early hours of Remembrance Sunday.

The controversial photo showed a cigarette lighter with a flame burning the bottom of a British Legion paper poppy with the words: “How about that you squadey [sic] ****s.”

Linford House (left) takes part in a restorative justice session after he posted a picture of himself burning a poppy on Remebrance day
Linford House (left) takes part in a restorative justice session after he posted a picture of himself burning a poppy on Remebrance day

House sparked public fury with the prank and was detained for more than a day under the Malicious Communications Act. Police also seized his phone.

But Kent Police confirmed the Canterbury College student will not face prosecution.

Instead House met an ex-naval marine, a sergeant major, members of the Royal British Legion and representatives from an army-affiliated charity at an undisclosed location on Wednesday.

The photo posted on Facebook by Linford House of himself burning a poppy
The photo posted on Facebook by Linford House of himself burning a poppy

The army veterans and serving personnel discussed the impact of House’s actions and how they affected others – as part of Kent Police’s new “restorative practice” programme.

House met the veterans on the same day the director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer said people should face a trial only if comments on Facebook go beyond being offensive.

The student, who is on a practical environmental studies building course, had to be moved out his home in Aylesham, Kent, after the offensive picture appeared on November 11, this year.

Just hours after the picture was published an online hate campaign lead by the English Defence League outed the teenager as ‘Linny “Power” House.’

EDL members attached his personal contact details to the burning poppy image.

They captioned the photo: “If anyone wonders why the English Defence League take to the streets and protest against those who disrespect our country’s way of life and Laws.”

Naked pictures from the suspect’s social media pages were also posted as a wave of public anger appeared to mount against him following the allegations.

It later emerged House’s grandfather Ronald was a merchant navy seaman who was awarded a workers’ VC for diving into icy water to try to save a sailor near the coast of Newfoundland in 1954.

His father Keith, who plays for Snowdon Colliery Rugby Club, described his son’s actions as stupid and said he could not remember posting the picture on the internet after a night out.



    I choked back my tears, as I pondered the rhyme
    On 11/11, at just the right time
    In my home town square, where the wreaths had been laid
    And the mayor wore his chain, and the Last Post was played.
    “For their tomorrow we gave our today.”
    Shall we squander such sorrow? Throw tomorrow away?

    A giddy young man set a poppy alight.
    This brave new tomorrow, that’s his human right.
    I cannot fathom this young man’s rage,
    Which might have “gone viral”, left up on his page.
    But was it sincere, the remembrance he tested?
    Were we glad or appalled, when this lad was arrested?

    “He has no respect!”, some of us cried,
    As though we’d forgotten why others had died
    Bent double like beggars, in trenches, in squalor.
    It quite slipped our minds, the reason such valour
    Had been demanded of their generation.
    They gave their today, for the sake of our nation.

    The bobbies today are much younger than I,
    Less able than ever to understand why
    My dad, who loved peace, played his part in a war
    Then taught all his sons what that war had been for.
    An informer phoned in, said, “A poppy’s a-light!”.
    The culprit? Arrested! To hell with his “right”!

    I can’t figure the meaning, to tell you the truth,
    Of burning the poppy, in the mind of the youth.
    But I know what that image speaks of to me,
    Of those who died, so that he could be free.
    Though the money I gave, the legion can keep,
    I must too burn my poppy, before I can sleep.

    The man that I am, who almost cried,
    As I wore my poppy, with sadness and pride,
    Has found a new meaning to letting it burn
    As I ask fellow countrymen, “When will we learn?”,
    And hypocrisy mourns for those killed in just war,
    But then sets on fire what they had died for.

    With different meaning, his gesture I’ll copy
    By putting a light to my own paper poppy,
    Not from contempt for the glorious dead,
    But out of respect; for, it has been said,
    These heroes suffered their undeserved fate
    Lest England became just another police state.

    (c) copyright John Allman MMXII


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