CNN logo

Infoseek/Big Yellow

Pathfinder/Warner Bros

Barnes and Noble

The Investigation:
Sources: Tests show Diana's driver suffered 'moderate, chronic alcoholism'

The Funeral:
A Final Farewell

The Funeral Procession

Video: The Processionvideo icon

Mourning Princess Diana: A Photo Gallery

Video: Elton John's Musical Tributevideo icon

Video: Earl Spencer's Tributevideo icon

Princess Diana: Related stories and sites

British coverage:
ITN coverage
World banner

S P E C I A L S: Diana: A Remembrance
Diana: A Nation Mourns

2 Slovaks jailed for stealing teddy bears left for Diana

Stolen teddy bears

Their government apologizes for 'deplorable' behavior

September 11, 1997
Web posted at: 6:48 p.m. EDT (2248 GMT)

LONDON (CNN) -- Two Slovakian tourists who admitted stealing teddy bears and flowers left outside Westminster Abbey in honor of the late Princess Diana were sentenced Thursday to 28 days in jail.

The Slovakian government issued a formal apology, calling the actions of its citizens "deplorable."

A London magistrate ordered the stiff sentences for Maria Rigolova, 54, and Agnese Sihelksa, 50, after they pleaded guilty to taking 11 teddy bears, as well as flowers and other items, from the piles left in front of the cathedral by mourners. The two had been on a bus tour when the thefts occurred.

The prosecutor in the case, Nazir Afzal, said the women's actions were "not far from the old offense of grave-robbing."

In a statement from the Slovakian embassy, press attaché Viera Viskupova expressed her country's regrets and called the women's behavior "despicable and unforgivable."

"We believe the verdict of the court and the sentence that ensued from it were entirely commensurate with the nature of this most deplorable crime," Viskupova said.

The sentencing of the Slovaks came a day after a Sardinian tourist, Fabio Piras, 20, was fined 100 pounds ($160) for taking a teddy bear from outside St. James's Palace.

In a demonstration of the country's mood, Piras was punched in the face on his way out of the courthouse by a bystander, who called the late princess "queen of everybody's hearts."

Reuters contributed to this report.


The Death of Princess Diana

CNN Plus

Infoseek search  

Message Boards Sound off on our message boards

You said it...
To the top

© 1997 Cable News Network, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.

Terms under which this service is provided to you.