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Wednesday, 24 April, 2002, 14:14 GMT 15:14 UK
Man jailed for hammering Liberty Bell
Dented surface of the Liberty Bell
The damage was caused to the lip of the 250-year-old bell
A man who pounded the historic Liberty Bell in Philadelphia with a hammer, has been sentenced to nine months behind bars.

It was not my intention to damage the bell. It was strictly to ring the bell

Mitchell Guilliatt
Mitchell Guilliat, 28, was also given five years' probation and ordered to pay $7,093 to cover costs of repairing the gouge marks he made in the damaged bell, which famously rung to announce the first public reading of the American Declaration of Independence in 1776.

Last April, Mr Guilliatt, a self-confessed unemployed wanderer, rushed forward shouting about God before striking the bell a number of times, in the eastern US city of Philadelphia.

"It was not my intention to damage the bell. It was strictly to ring the bell," the Associated Press news agency quoted Mr Guilliatt as saying in the US district court.

He pleaded guilty to damaging the archaeological resource, and would serve his time Boise, Idaho, where he had been confined and electronically monitored since the attack.

Officials say some damage was caused to the lip of the 250-year-old bell, which is regarded as a symbol of American freedom.

The pavilion housing the bell outside Independence Hall was temporarily closed after the attack to allow curators and officials examined the bell.


The Liberty Bell was cracked by a stroke of the clapper soon after it arrived in Philadelphia causing a permanent scar which is visible running down the side of the bell.

Mitchell Guilliatt is led by the by National Park rangers in Philadelphia
Guilliatt was immediately taken into custody after the attack
Since then, it has only been ceremonially tapped.

The Liberty Bell was made in Britain and delivered to Philadelphia in 1752.

In the following year, it was hung in the tower of Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was read.

The term Liberty Bell was first used in an Abolitionist pamphlet in the 1830s.

In 1976, during the bicentennial celebrations, it was moved to a new pavilion, near Independence Hall.

See also:

06 Apr 01 | Americas
Man attacks Liberty Bell with hammer
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