A man photographed urinating next to a PC Keith Palmer memorial has been jailed for two weeks. Andrew Banks, 28, caused outrage when the photo was rapidly circulated over the weekend on social media, as violent clashes took place in central London between far-right supporters and police.
Banks, from Stansted in Essex, appeared in custody on Monday at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. He pleaded guilty to outrage public decency and was ordered to 14 days in prison.
Prosecutor Michael Mallon said the Tottenham Hotspur fan wanted to ‘guard statues’ in central London – but admitted that he did not know which ones. The photograph sparked outrage when over the weekend it was widely shared. Jailing Banks, Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said the incident had caused ‘public revulsion.’ She told him: ‘I accept that you were drunk and didn’t know where to urinate. ‘You explain that you had to drink 16 pints, you hadn’t been to bed, and a group of football supporters came up to protect the monuments.
‘The irony is rather than protecting the monuments, you almost urinated on one. That was more by luck than judgment. ‘You showed no respect at the time for a man killed while protecting the Houses of Parliament.’Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot
Mr Mallon described how Banks was seen at 10.59 am on Saturday walking along Bridge Street in Westminster, going behind a barrier and urinating next to the memorial.
The court heard that he was reckoned to be urinating for about a minute. Police didn’t see banks at the time, but a photographer captured his actions on camera, which was later shared on social media. Having been confronted by his father, who saw them online, he handed himself into police.
The prosecutor said: ‘He said he desperately needed to urinate but couldn’t find a toilet. He did not know there was a memorial. ‘He said he was very remorseful.’
Banks was known to have mental health problems, and the court heard he had attempted to take his own life. The defendant had no prior convictions and was “shamed by his conduct,” said Stuart Harris, defence counsel.
His dad David spoke out over the weekend to say his son has been ‘devastated’ by his actions, as he called him a ‘stupid plonker’ for choosing a ‘stupid place to go to the toilet’.
David also denied that his son was part of the English Defence League (EDL) far-right group, saying that he would ‘kill himself’ if jailed.
Politicians widely condemned Banks’ actions.
The far-right march on Saturday took place after thousands of anti-racism demonstrators marched in several events sparked by George Floyd’s death at the hands of Police officers in the US.
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