Lancashire

Blackpool war memorial urine woman avoids jail

A woman who urinated on a war memorial before performing a sex act on a man nearby has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Wendy Lewis, 32, was jeered by veterans when she arrived for a hearing at Blackpool Magistrates' Court last week.

Lewis, of Princess Street, Blackpool, was caught on CCTV relieving herself at the memorial in May.

On Wednesday, she was sentenced to a 15-week jail term, suspended for one year.

Lewis had been found guilty of outraging public decency at an earlier hearing at the court.

She was due to be sentenced on Friday but fled after she was met by a group of veterans who lined the court steps to form a "guard of dishonour".

'Memory desecrated'

Veterans attended court again on Wednesday following her arrest by Lancashire Police on Tuesday night.

Ahead of the sentencing hearing she also pleaded guilty to assaulting Pc Emma Halliwell, who she kicked twice during her arrest.

District Judge Roger Lowe told her: "You have got the right to do whatever you want, think whatever you want and say whatever you want. Those rights were won by people who fought for us and died for us.

"The memorial in this town remembers the people who gave their lives for values which we hold so dear.

Image caption Wendy Lewis was jeered as she arrived for a previous hearing at the court

"When you urinated on the memorial you desecrated on their memory. You brought shame on yourself and you brought shame on the town."

The incident at the war memorial happened at around 0500 BST on 7 May. CCTV showed Lewis pull down her trousers and urinate.

Minutes later, she joined an unknown man on a step nearby and was seen performing the sex act. CCTV operators then alerted police.

In mitigation, Allan Cobain, said his client would forever be known as "that woman from the Cenotaph".

He described the incident as "beyond the pale" but said it was the result of a "severe" drink and drug problem.

Lewis was sentenced to 12 weeks for outraging public decency and three weeks for the assault, both suspended for a year.

She was also ordered to complete a drug rehabilitation programme, pay £200 in costs and £50 in compensation to Pc Halliwell.

Speaking after the hearing, Ian Coleman, president of Blackpool Royal British Legion, said: "If you abuse this memorial you are abusing everyone who has been killed in the service of their country.

"It seems the perpetrators just get a slap on the wrist and possibly stronger laws have to be implemented to have a deterrent to stop these people defiling this sacred ground."

Suggesting those who disrespect memorials should be made to clean them up, he added: "I wouldn't want to see anybody put in prison.

"But that memorial is sacrosanct and we do need a deterrent."

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