July 05, 2020

Man jailed after urinating next to PC Keith Palmer memorial in London

June 15, 2020

An Essex man has been sentenced to two weeks in prison after he was photographed urinating next to the memorial to PC Keith Palmer in London.

Andrew Banks, 28, from Stansted, pleaded guilty to outraging public decency at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

Banks sparked outrage after he was caught on camera urinating next to the murdered police officer's memorial during protests against the removal of controversial statues on Saturday.

The court was told that Banks was thoroughly ashamed of his actions.

Prosecutor Michael Mallons said Banks had travelled to central London for an all-night drinking session and decided to join a group of the Football Lads Alliance, who were going to "protect the statues", but did not know "which statues" they wanted to protect.

He drank 16 pints on Friday night and the early hours of Saturday morning and had not slept when it happened.

Banks handed himself in to police after being confronted by his father about the incident, which caused "public revulsion", the judge said.

Jailing him, Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot told Banks: "I accept you were drunk and did not know where you were urinating.

"The irony is rather than protecting the monuments, you almost urinated on one. That was more by luck than judgement.

"You showed no respect at the time for a man killed while protecting the Houses of Parliament."

An elderly woman in the public gallery gasped and fled the courtroom with her hands over her head as Banks was jailed and made to pay £80 in court costs.

Defending, Stuart Harris said his client was "ashamed by his action".

He told the court the 28-year-old had been battling alcohol addiction for two years and had been diagnosed with depression a year ago.

Banks was condemned on Twitter by Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood, who gave PC Palmer first aid as he lay dying after being stabbed by terrorist Khalid Masood on 22 March 2017.

He shared the picture of Banks, which was taken during counter-demonstrations over the removal of colonial or slave-related monuments after one was pulled down by protesters in Bristol in light of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Those attending Saturday's protest claimed to be guarding the statue of Sir Winston Churchill and the Cenotaph after they were targeted by anti-racism protesters at previous marches.

But the event turned violent after hundreds of self-proclaimed "statue defenders" took over areas near the Houses of Parliament and Trafalgar Square and hurled missiles, smoke grenades, glass bottles and flares at police officers.

A total of 113 people were arrested and the protest was condemned by Boris Johnson as "racist thuggery" and described as "mindless hooliganism" by police.

Welcoming the sentencing, Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said: "This was a sickening image we saw at the weekend.

"I am glad the perpetrator has come forward and pleaded guilty. This will save the family of Keith any further trauma."

:: 8 minutes & 46 Seconds: The Killing of George Floyd

From 9pm tonight, Sky News will air a documentary narrated by Idris Elba which examines whether the global protests triggered by George Floyd's death are a turning point for the anti-racism movement. The programme can also be viewed on Sky News' Youtube channel.

On Tuesday night at 8pm, Sky News will also broadcast global debate show Race and Revolution: Is Change Going to Come?

It will look at the issues raised by the Black Lives Matter protests, and examine institutional racism and how we fix it.

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