British tourist Ivan Dimitrov asked for forgiveness for defacing the ancient building.
The British tourist who was caught on camera carving his name and that of his girlfriend on the ancient Roman Colosseum has begged for forgiveness.
27-year-old Bulgarian-born fitness instructor Ivan Dimitrov, who also goes by the name Ivan Hawkins, had been on a trip to the Eternal City with his girlfriend Hayley Bracey.
Footage of him carving “Ivan+Hayley 23” into the 2000-year-old structure soon went viral, causing outrage over the alleged act of vandalism.
The video was titled 'A*****e tourist carves name in Colosseum in Rome 6-23-23', and received around 300,000 views online.
Dimitrov, who lives in Bristol in the southwest of England, could face a fine of up to €15,000 or up to five years in jail because the Colosseum is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Italian Carabinieri quickly tracked the pair down in Bulgaria using photographic comparisons.
Once they had spoken to Dimitrov, they said he had expressed "sincere remorse" for his alleged actions.
Major Roberto Martina of the Carabinieri said: “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,” he said.
The major explained that Mr Dimitrov “had contacted us after we secured his mobile telephone from hotel records and left a message for him to call us. He was naturally worried about the legal implications, and these were all explained to him."
"We didn’t ask him why he did it, that will be for a judge to hear, we just told him that he was a suspect and was part of the investigation."
Major Martina also clarified that Ms Bracey "is not part of any complaint, so is an innocent party as far as we are concerned".
“Although technically, she could be seen as an accessory,” he added.