Essex

Woman guilty of Essex war memorial urination

The Grays war memorial
Image caption Kelly Martin, 42, urinated on the war memorial in front of crowds of people, it is alleged

A woman who drunkenly urinated on a public war memorial has been convicted of outraging public decency.

Kelly Martin, 42, desecrated the monument in Grays, Essex, in April and June in front of members of the public.

Pictures from the 30 June offence, on the eve of the Battle of the Somme centenary, caused a public outcry when they were posted on social media.

Martin, of Grays, was also found guilty of common assault and using abusive language.

She was convicted of all charges late on Tuesday after a short trial at Basildon Magistrates' Court.

Her lawyer had argued that the June offence was a case of mistaken identity, while in April she had not deliberately urinated on the public symbol of the nation's war dead, which still had remembrance wreaths at its base.

'Disgusting' behaviour

Chairman of the bench Stuart Cranmer told her: "These offences really resonated with the local community."

Martin, who the court heard has mental health problems and is an alcoholic, did not give evidence during the trial.

She will be sentenced on 25 August.

PC James Shelton, who arrested her on April 13 on suspicion of the earlier offence, told the court he was "shocked" by what he saw.

He said: "For me, the war memorial is something that we need to remember in terms of people who gave their lives for us.

"We hold them in our hearts. I was so disgusted that someone could be so deliberately offensive towards it.

"I looked around in disbelief. In particular I saw a mother that had a child in a pushchair. She was trying to shield her child's eyes from what was happening."

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