Fourteen days in prison for man who urinated next to PC Keith Palmer memorial

15 June 2020, 11:02

Memorial To PC Keith Palmer
Memorial To PC Keith Palmer. Picture: Getty
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Andrew Banks, 28, has seen sentenced to 14 days in custody for outraging public decency after being pictured urinating next to the PC Keith Palmer memorial during Saturday's far-right protests in central London.

Banks, of Stansted, Essex was sentenced at Westminster Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to urinating next to the memorial for the slain police officer.

The 28-year-old was arrested after he was photographed urinating next to the memorial dedicated to PC Keith Palmer, the officer who was stabbed to death in the 2017 terror attack in Westminster.

Prosecutor Michael Mallon said Banks, a Tottenham Hotspur fan, was in central London to "protect statues", but admitted he did not know which statues.

He was said to have drunk 16 pints during Friday night into Saturday morning and had not been to sleep.

Banks contacted police after being confronted by his father, the court heard.

His counsel Stuart Harris said his client was "ashamed by his action", and had mental health issues.

The counter-protest came after thousands of anti-racist demonstrators marched in events triggered by the death of George Floyd after a white police officer held him down by pressing his knee into his neck for almost nine minutes in Minneapolis on May 25.

Jailing Banks at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Monday morning, Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said: "I accept you were drunk and did not know where you were urinating.

"Your explanation is you had 16 pints to drink, you hadn't been to bed, and a group of football supporters were coming 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."

She said the incident had caused "public revulsion".

Speaking on Saturday, Commander Bas Javid described the image as "disgusting and abhorrent", while Home Secretary Priti Patel referred to the "desecration" of Pc Palmer's memorial, and said it was "absolutely appalling and shameful".

MP Tobias Ellwood, who gave first aid to Pc Palmer as he lay dying after being stabbed to death in the grounds of Parliament by Khalid Masood in 2017, said the image of the man urinating next to the memorial was "abhorrent".

More than 100 people were arrested on Saturday at the protest in London, and the violence was condemned by the Prime Minister as "racist thuggery" and described as "mindless hooliganism" by police.