A man who has admitted to urinating next to a memorial to murdered police officer PC Keith Palmer has been jailed for two weeks.
Andrew Banks, 28, of Stansted, Essex sparked national outrage when he was photographed relieving himself by Palmer’s memorial plaque outside the Palace of Westminster during Saturday’s violent protests.
Mr. Palmer was stabbed to death while protecting others during the Westminster Bridge terrorist attack on 22 March 2017.
Banks was sentenced to 14 days in custody on Monday after pleading guilty to outraging public decency at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
According to the Evening Standard, the court heard that Banks had drank 16 pints the night before the protest and didn’t know what the memorial plaque was until his father told him its significance.
Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot who sentenced Banks said his actions had caused widespread “revulsion”.
“The harm caused is the upset and shock felt by members of the public who saw the photograph”, she said. “Your explanation is you had 16 pints to drink and hadn’t been to bed the night before.”
Banks told the police that he attended the demonstration with a group of football fans to “defend statues” but wasn’t sure which ones were under threat.
Stuart Harris, who represented Banks said his client was “ashamed by his action,” and that he had mental health issues.
The image of Banks was shared widely on social media on Saturday and many notable figures shared their outrage.
Tobias Ellwood, the Tory MP and chairman of the Defence Select Committee who gave first aid to the dying police officer at the time of the attack, called the incident “abhorrent” .
Absolute shame on this man.— Tobias Ellwood MP (@Tobias_Ellwood) June 13, 2020
Of all the images to emerge over these few testing days I find this one of most abhorrent.
Please help identify him. pic.twitter.com/8ydcNmTWrN
While Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan said the act was “beyond contempt”
Beyond contempt...— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) June 13, 2020
One of the thugs in London today to ‘save our country’ from people defacing memorials - caught urinating on the memorial for hero PC Keith Palmer who died as he tackled a terrorist & was awarded a posthumous George Medal. 👇 pic.twitter.com/gYoylm0jXC
Saturday’s protests saw thousands of demonstrators respond to a call on social media to come out to “defend the monuments” in response to graffiti on the statue of Winston Churchill and the Cenotaph in London, and the toppling of the statue of the slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol, during Black Lives Matter protests the weekend before.
The demonstration turned to violence as protesters allegedly turned on police officers stationed to protect the monuments, with footage online showing bottles and cans being forcefully thrown at them.
Commander Bas Javid revealed on Saturday that 23 officers had been hurt during the day and blasted the violence as “utterly shocking”, adding: “Mindless hooliganism such as this is totally unacceptable.”