A man who was fined for having three friends in his garden for one hour on his birthday last year is appealing for his money back after fresh news surrounding alleged Downing Street parties.
On March 19, 2021, Kieron McArdle, 50, from Coleshill, Warwickshire, invited two friends to sit with him outside in his garden on his birthday.
After spending the second lockdown alone, he had been struggling with loneliness, which was severely impacting his mental health.
After authorities caught wind of the breach of the rules, he was fined £100.
Kieron paid the fine, admitting that what he did was "wrong". However, following leaked emails inviting Downing Street members to a drinks party, he is furious.
Kieron is now calling for the Government to refund him – and anyone else who was fined during lockdown.
“There’s no argument that I broke the rules but after seeing more and more stuff coming out, it has infuriated me,” he said.
Kieron McArdle accepts that he broke the rules, but is now furious to hear that Downing Street staffers attended parties over the same period
On the day of the incident, Kieron's friends arrived at 2pm and didn't enter the house even to use the toilet
“These people should be held to account and I firmly believe anyone who was fined should be offered a refund or the money donated to charity.
“It feels so unfair that it was one rule for them and another for us.”
On the day of the incident, Kieron's friends arrived at 2pm and didn't enter the house even to use the toilet.
An hour later, however, the police arrived at his door.
Kieron said: “One of my friends recognised that my mental health wasn’t great and it was my birthday.
“I couldn’t go the gym and my children live with their mother and couldn’t come over as they are older and it would have been a mixed household.
“I’m a company director for a cleaning and property maintenance company and it was affected so that had an impact too.
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“For a couple of weeks, Zoom calls were fine but in the second lockdown last year, I felt my mental health deteriorating.
“My friends just wanted to sit in the garden from a distance on a lovely sunny day.
"We knew it wasn’t in the rules but it wasn’t 40 or 50 people and my friends didn’t even go inside to use the toilet.
“They [the police] told us we were breaking the rules, cautioned us, read us our rights, took our details and copies of our ID, then told us we would get a fine in the post.
"Then my friends were dispersed. It was quite worrying. The letter arrived a few weeks later and I paid the £100 fine. I hold my hands up and accept that what I did was wrong.”
Seeing the recent news about gatherings and parties attended by Downing Street staff, Kieron is very upset and has contacted his local MP.
He added: “I’ve emailed my MP about it but haven’t had a response yet.
“I think I should have a refund and these people should be fined in the same way everyone else has been fined.
“I’m happy to give that money to charity because I did do wrong but I don’t think it should be going to a government who totally disregarded the rules themselves.”