A homeless man who picked up a lost race number and pretended to finish the UK capital marathon has been jailed for 16 weeks.
Stanislaw Skupian, crossed the finish line at the London Marathon on April 22 with runner Jake Halliday’s number after finding it on the ground with about 300m to go.
The 38-year-old was pictured with a finisher’s medal after the event, for which he admitted one count of fraud by false representation, and also three unrelated theft offences.
The offence relating to the London Marathon carried a sentence of 13 weeks, while the other three weeks handed down at Uxbridge magistrates court on Thursday, concern unrelated theft offences at Heathrow airport, which Skupian viewed as his temporary home.
London Marathon runner Halliday was running for the charity Bloodwise and dropped his number after taking his t-shirt off. The court heard he was “shocked” to learn someone had celebrated with his number.
Skupian’s defence lawyer, Jameela Jamroz, said: “He wanted to be there, he was excited. He wanted to see the runners. He says by chance he saw a race identifier on the floor.
“In his excitement, he picked up the identifier thinking this was his opportunity to compete in the marathon and that this was, in fact, a dream come true for him.
“He joined in the marathon and completed the latter part of the race.
“At the time he hadn’t fully quite appreciated that he was doing anything wrong.
“He dedicated the completion of it to his seven-year-old son and to homeless people to inspire them that good things can happen to those that are less fortunate.”
Ms Jamroz explained that Skupian became homeless after a neck injury from a serious car crash resulted in him taking time off work, followed by the separation from his wife. His defence lawyer also said he suffered a short, temporary mental breakdown before the marathon.
The London Marathon chief executive, Nick Bitel, said Skupian’s actions could damage the reputation and integrity of the race.