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Man jailed for urinating at PC Keith Palmer memorial during protest

A man appearing to urinate on PC Keith Palmer's memorial Image copyright Alamy Live News
Image caption The memorial for PC Keith Palmer was unveiled outside Parliament in 2018

A man has been jailed for urinating at the Westminster memorial dedicated to PC Keith Palmer.

Andrew Banks, 28, of Stansted, Essex, was photographed during Saturday's right-wing protests in London.

He was sentenced to 14 days in custody, after pleading guilty to outraging public decency at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

PC Palmer, 48, was stabbed while on duty during the Westminster attack on 22 March 2017.

He was one of five people murdered by Khalid Masood.

Image copyright Elizabeth Cook
Image caption Andrew Banks had not slept the night before the incident, the court heard

The image of Banks was widely shared on social media on Saturday as violent clashes between far-right protesters and police took place in central London.

Banks, a Tottenham Hotspur fan, said he had travelled to central London with other football supporters 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.

Jailing Banks, 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."

Image copyright Staci Martin
Image caption PC Keith Palmer was unarmed as he was attacked by Khalid Masood

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

The act was widely condemned at the time by politicians including MP Tobias Ellwood, who gave first aid to PC Palmer as he lay dying in the grounds of Parliament.

Met Police Cdr Bas Javid said: "Keith Palmer was a brave police officer and the memorial stands testament to his courage.

"Banks' actions, in stark contrast, were unpleasant and extremely upsetting to PC Palmer's family and colleagues.

"While I note that Banks did not act with intent, I welcome the sentence handed down by the court for his thoughtless and distasteful behaviour."

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