A jobless mother-of-five who twice urinated on a war memorial while drunk has been jailed for seven months.
Kelly Martin, 42, outraged public decency when she desecrated the monument in broad daylight in Grays, Essex, first in April when there were still Remembrance poppy wreaths on it.
She did so a second time while on bail in June, the day before the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme.
Martin, who wore a blue vest top and had her hair in an off-centre pony tail, shouted ‘f*** this’ as she was led down to the cells at Basildon Crown Court today.
Kelly Martin provoked anger around the country when she was pictured urinating on poppy wreaths in Grays, Essex. She committed the disrespectful act twice in two months
Judge John Lodge, sentencing, said: ‘Each of these offences is so serious that only a custodial sentence is appropriate. The two cases of outraging public decency involve urinating on a war memorial.
‘Inevitably war memorials were constructed at the centre of towns and villages so on a daily basis people could be reminded of the sacrifices made by people who died.
‘People use them as a place around which they congregate and that’s not wrong, but when people take that step further and abuse them by urinating on them that’s a matter the court needs to take very seriously indeed.’
Addressing Martin, he said: ‘What makes your case particularly bad is having been caught doing it one time, when the nation was commemorating the worst battle of the First World War you were caught doing it again in the middle of the day.’
Martin, of no fixed abode, was arrested on July 2 and convicted at Basildon Magistrates’ Court in August of two charges of outraging public decency.
Alcoholic Martin of Grays, Essex, was also found guilty of one charge of assaulting the paramedic after throwing an empty glass bottle of Smirnoff vodka at his head and rubbing her naked backside on his leg.
Martin interrupted a magistrates court hearing when a statement was being read by a veteran
She was also convicted of using abusive language against a paramedic the same day.
She was sentenced to one month in prison for the first count of outraging public decency, three months for the second to run consecutively and three months for both the assault and the abusive language.
Mothers with young children were among the mortified members of the public who had witnessed Martin’s unsavoury act on June 30, pictures of which surfaced online on July 1, as the nation came together to remember the fallen.
The incidents both happened at the war memorial in Grays High Street
Prosecutor Juliet Donovan said: ‘On April 13 she was seen by PC James Shelton urinating on the war memorial, she was seen urinating on the epitaph with a number of people present, including mothers and their children.
‘The officer described her has having a beer in her hand and struggling to pull her trousers up, the officer then said he was disgusted and shocked to his core that someone could be so offensive.’
Ms Donovan told the court the officer said Martin had squared up to him and swore at him when he calmly asked what she was doing before he arrested her.
The case had been sent to Basildon Crown Court for sentencing, as district judge John Woollard told an earlier hearing at Basildon Magistrates’ Court that he did not feel it was ‘within my sentencing powers’ to deal with the case, given a slew of aggravating features – including that Martin was drunk and appeared remorseless.
In mitigation, the court heard that Martin had spent seven weeks in prison on remand and was now ‘clean’.
Speaking after the hearing, army veteran Kenneth Campbell, from Veterans Radio Net, said: ‘I’m disappointed by the sentence that the judge gave but his hands were tied, he had no sentencing guidelines to work with.
‘And that is why we will petitioning to have it put on the statue books, it needs to be put in black and white and made a crime on its own.’
Mr Campbell who served nine years with the Royal Engineers said he felt the offence of desecrating a war memorial should carry a sentence of up to two years in prison.