Tourist who carved his name Ivan into Rome Colosseum begs police for forgiveness as top warns he faces 5 years in jail | The Sun

A UK fitness instructor has begged for forgiveness as he faces five years in an Italian prison for defacing the historic Colosseum.

Ivan Dimitrov, also known as Ivan Hawkins, has been seen by millions worldwide scrawling his name into the 2,000-year-old monument – along with that of his girlfriend Hayley Bracey.

He has now apologised to police for defacing the ancient brickwork, in an act caught on camera and shared online by an outraged tourist witnessing him.

But officers appear intent on pursuing charges against the 27-year-old and his girlfriend aged 33, after tracking them down.

The couple, who live in Bristol, were visiting Italian capital Rome as part of a three-week European tour.

But they had already departed for Bulgaria before being traced by Italian police who identified them through CCTV footage and hotel records.

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Major Roberto Martina, of Italy's carabinieri paramilitary police, has now told MailOnline: "Colleagues have spoken with the man and he has expressed his apologies and sincere remorse for what he did.

"He told us he was very upset by what he had done, and he kept apologising for it.

"I think he was worried about the consequences of any trial and we explained that he could be jailed for between two and five years and be fined up to 15,000 euros."

Bulgarian Mr Dimitrov, who not only runs his own fitness company but is also a part-time delivery driver, was filmed last week vandalising the site by Californian holiday-maker Ryan Lutz.

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He was seen carving the words "Ivan and Hayley 23" using a set of keys.

Mr Lutz posted the video online, in which he can be heard telling Mr Dimitrov: "Are you serious, man? That is f***ed up, man – stupid a******."

Italy's culture minister Gennaro Sangiuliano has branded the vandalism an "uncivilised and absurd act" which had "offended all those throughout the world who appreciate the value of archaeology, monuments and history".

He added: "Now I hope that justice will take its course by rigorously applying the laws."

The Colosseum previously hit the headlines when visitors complained about being charged £430 for photos outside with men dresssed as Roman centurions.

Yet it was another tourist who risked getting into trouble when accused of trying to smuggle home a brick he pried from the Colosseum walls.

The Colosseum features in a model of Ancient Rome by archaeologist Italo Gismondi, which was commissioned by fascist dictator Benito Mussolini and appears in the Oscar-winning Russell Crowe movie Gladiator.

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