Sunday 27 May 2018

French gatecrashers 'guzzle priceless wine' in Project X house party rampage

Trial opens in France of 20-year-old accused of guzzling Chateau d'Yquem wine and trashing house in "Project X" party rampage

The American film Project X shows a house being trashed by a crowd sourced on social media Photo: Warner Bros
The American film Project X shows a house being trashed by a crowd sourced on social media Photo: Warner Bros

A French man was due to stand trial for trashing a house in a violent spree inspired by Project X, a film in which a high school party spirals out of control.

The horrified owners of the property in Sornéville near Nancy, eastern France, returned home to find their priceless Chateau d'Yquem wine had been guzzled, jewellery stolen, graffiti all over the walls, and furniture in the swimming pool.

Chateau d'Yqem is considered the world's finest sweet white wine
Chateau d'Yqem is considered the world's finest sweet white wine

Their 15-year-old son had invited “a dozen” friends to a party via social media in June 2013 only to see ten times more turn up on the night.

The gatecrashers "acted in a totally gratuitous fashion and the Facebook invite spread like wildfire online,” said Frédéric Berna, the parents’ lawyer.

The vandals, most around 16 years old, proceeded to run riot in and outside the house.

“They concocted a home-made firework out of a flare in a Nutella pot and let it off in the lounge, they tore doors off, sprayed graffiti on the walls, scratched the parquet floor, threw garden material into the swimming pool and destroyed furniture,” said the lawyer.

Valuable jewels and bottle of wine were stolen, with the teenagers “guzzling Chateau d'Yquem straight out of the bottle at a (nearby) bus stop”. Chateau d'Yquem is considered the world's finest sweet white wine, and an 1811 vintage broke the world record for a bottle of white, sold for £75,000.

Chickens from the back yard were placed in plastic bags and “kicked around like footballs”.

In all they caused an estimated €20,000 in damage.

The vandals told investigators they had been inspired by Project X, an American 2012 film about three high school students who throw the ultimate party that spirals out of control and leaves them with a riot on their hands.

It has inspired many copycat parties causing thousands of dollars of damage to homes in the US, and even one gun death.

While the 15-year-old who organised the party in France has been cleared of wrongdoing, gendarmes identified around a dozen suspects.

One of them, now 20, is on trial for “theft and damage”. The unnamed defendant, who faces up to three years in prison, “takes responsibility for his actions”, said his lawyer but doesn’t want to do so alone because he is the only non-minor.

Five other youths are due to face punishment before a children’s judge.

After its release, Project X sparked havoc in America with mega-parties and hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage.

In 2012 in Houston alone 13 teenagers were arrested after a new $500,000 (£350,000), 4,000-square-foot home was trashed and its windows smashed.

In another out-of-control party in Houston, a teenage boy died from multiple gunshot wounds after a fight.

In Miramar, Florida, Christopher Dade, 18, was arrested for allegedly caused $19,000 worth of damage to a foreclosed home before he even had he chance to throw his Project X-inspired party.

The teenager posted a video on YouTube of the house, which he had prepared for the party, complete with Project X spray painted on the walls. Nearly 2,000 people showed up for the party and were turned away by police.

France has only known one other case of vandalism inspired by Project X. In 2012, two young men were sentenced to six months in prison for trashing an unoccupied villa on the Côte d’Azur after inviting 1,000 people to a party.

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