On 10th June this year, Charlie Barnes took a can of blue paint and daubed the words “all lives matter” across the Royal Air Force Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park. Her misguided attempt at graffiti has earned her a £630 bill from Judge Lucinda Lubbock, in the Westminster Magistrates Court.
Ms. Barnes claims that her drinks had been spiked, which accounts for her drunkenness and foolish actions in defacing the Memorial.
The Memorial consists of a group of seven statues, representative of an average Bomber Command aircrew. It is a tribute to the more than 55,000 men, members of bomber aircrews, that lost their lives during World War II. The Memorial is regularly visited by the families and friends of men who lost their lives and comrades of the fallen men.
The Bomber Command Memorial was erected in Green Park in London and unveiled by Queen Elizabeth in 2012. Sadly, this Memorial is a magnet for vandals, and this is not the first time that this Memorial has been vandalized.
Ms. Barnes, aged 31, appeared in Westminster Magistrates Court last Friday and admitted that she had criminally damaged the historical monument. She is a champion of the Black Lives Matter movement and claims she remembers nothing of the incident.
The Prosecutor of the case, Arfan Ahmed, told the court that the destructive act was caught on CCTV. It clearly showed that on the 10th June, Ms. Barnes approached the Memorial with a tin of blue paint, which she placed on the floor. She then took a paintbrush and painted “all lives matter” across the Memorial. She is also seen waving around, what appears to be, a bottle of brandy.
Mr. Ahmed went on to say that if families of men serving in The Royal Air Force had seen the defaced monument, it would have caused severe distress to them, to see those words daubed across the Memorial, and it trashed in such a manner.
Mr. Ahmed told the court that the paint had been scrubbed off, and the Memorial restored to its previous state. The cost of the cleaning was £500.
He went on to say that the act was a deliberate political statement due to the content of the slogan that was painted. He noted that it was a premeditated act, as no-one would walk down to the Memorial carrying a tin of paint and a paintbrush.
Mr. Ahmed told the court that the prosecution believed that these events’ nature was political, stemmed from a political event.
The solicitor for the defense, Ms. Laura Bayles, denied that the act was politically motivated and said that there was no evidence to support the theory that it was a politically motivated act, even though Ms. Barnes had made it clear that she believes in the Black Lives Matter movement.
Ms. Bayles argued that Ms. Barnes had no recollection of what she had done as she contends that her drink was spiked. Ms. Barnes claims she has no memory of what happened and did not know she had defaced the monument until she saw the CCTV footage when questioned by the police.
Ms. Bayles admitted that it was a severe offense as a memorial was defaced. She went on to say that she was not trying to play down the seriousness of the act and did not want to give the impression that it was not ‘distasteful and reckless,’ but there were some underlying things that Ms. Barnes was experiencing at the time of the offense.
Ms. Bayles asked the magistrate to take Barnes’s personal difficulties into account and recognize her ‘limited means’ when determining a sentence. She also told the court that Ms. Barnes was doing everything right at this time. She lived in a stable environment and had been at the same address for five years. She also told the court that the accused was remorseful for what she had done and was prepared to make reparations for the damage, but Ms. Bayles did request that no additional costs be added to the cleaning fee.
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Ms. Barnes admitted the charge of criminal damage to property and was ordered to pay £130 in costs, in addition to the £500 that it took to clean the monument.