Ronald Coyne
Ronald Coyne was filmed setting fire to the money in February Cambridge University Conservative Association

A Cambridge University student who caused outrage after he was filmed burning a £20 note in front of a homeless man will not be expelled after writing a letter of apology.

Ronald Coyne, a law student at the prestigious university, was thrown out of the Cambridge University Conservative Association after footage emerged of him setting fire to the bank note while dressed in a bow-tie and coat tails on 2 February.

The incident is said to be reminiscent of initiation rituals preformed for the exclusive Bullingdon Club at Oxford University, whose previous members include David Cameron, Boris Johnson and George Osborne.

As the mobile phone footage of the incident went viral, more than 23,000 people signed a petition calling for the university to expel Coyne.

Pembroke College has now confirmed that Coyne, said to be a distant relative of Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon, will keep his place at the university, but disciplinary action was taken against him.

Pembroke have also released a letter of apology from the student in order to "generate support for Ronald as he prepares to return to College".

Coyne claims that following the outrage over the video, his family were sent letters threatening violence and chemical attacks. He adds he is also attending behaviour awareness classes in the wake of the incident which relate to "both alcohol and social inclusion".

The letter states:

"My actions were wrong and without thought or consideration. I abused my privilege as a student at such a great university, and behaved in a way which is totally contrary to the values of the university and of its students.

"I acknowledge that my behaviour put the entire university in a negative light, and for that I am sorry. For the effect that my behaviour had on you as a community, I am also sorry.

"I am extremely fortunate to have a place at Cambridge. My experience of Cambridge was of a place which is positive, accepting, and friendly. Yet on that evening, I forgot what it really meant to study at Cambridge. I misrepresented what it meant to be a student here.

"The gift of a great education should be a tool to enrich society, not an excuse to debase it. I made a terrible mistake, and I quite rightly faced disciplinary action for it. I have addressed the root causes of my behaviour by attending awareness classes, relating to both alcohol and social inclusion.

"I am truly sorry for the upset I have caused my fellow students. I cannot begin to express my heartfelt remorse for the guilt by association you all faced, on many levels. When the media commentary flared up, strangers sent piles of abusive mail to my family home threatening me with violence, and chemical attacks.

"I received some sympathetic letters and emails from people who thought that the online abuse went too far. To those people, I am still grateful. I would like to end by repeating my deep regret at the offence and hurt caused by my actions, and asking for a second chance."

A spokesperson for Pembroke College added: "Like many, the college was shocked to read the details of a widely reported incident on Bridge Street, Cambridge, in February, involving one of our students.

"Disciplinary action has been taken, but of course the College cannot comment on the outcome of individual disciplinary cases."