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Winston Churchill statue: Man fined for spraying 'racist'

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image copyrightPA Media
image captionBenjamin Clark admitted spraying graffiti on the statue

A man has been fined and ordered to pay compensation after he painted the word "racist" on a statue of Winston Churchill during protests in London.

Benjamin Clark admitted causing £1,642.03 worth of damage to the statue in Parliament Square on 10 September during a climate demonstration.

Westminster Magistrates' Court heard he sprayed graffiti on the base of the statue using yellow paint.

The 18-year-old was given a £200 fine and told to pay £1,200 in compensation.

Mr Clark, of Hertford, Hertfordshire, will also have to pay £85 in court costs and a £34 victim surcharge.

image copyrightPA Media
image captionThe statue was defaced during the final day of protests by climate activists Extinction Rebellion

Matt Barrowcliffe, prosecuting, said police had been dealing with the demonstration which came on the last day of a series of recent Extinction Rebellion protests when "they observed this defendant spray painting the word 'racist'".

Laura O'Brien, mitigating, said Mr Clark admitted spraying the word in chalk paint, but denied he caused all the damage done to the statue on that day.

She said chalk paint given to him at the demonstration did not have "the ability to cause lasting damage".

"He did not attend the scene with spray paint, he did not attend the scene with the intent to damage the statue," she said.

The court was also told he had been sent abuse and death threats since he was charged, with "really unpleasant" messages sent to his family home and his father's workplace, Ms O'Brien said.

Sentencing Mr Clark, Deputy Chief Magistrate Tan Ikram said the defendant had "caused great offence, it appears, to a lot of people, and I am told it has provoked a very strong reaction".

"From where I sit, this is criminal damage," he added.

Related Topics

  • City of Westminster
  • Winston Churchill
  • Extinction Rebellion