A woman who vandalised the Bomber Command Statue in central London has walked free from court after being handed a fine of £630.
Charlie Barnes, 31, attacked the memorial with blue paint on 10th June this year. The Bomber Command Memorial features seven statues of a bomber command aircrew and acts as a tribute to the 55,573 aircrew who lost their lives during the second world war.
Images of the damage caused by Barnes caused a widespread outcry from the military and veteran community during a time when some protesters were targeting military statues in the capital.
Barnes appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today and admitted to causing criminal damage to the historic memorial which is still visited by veterans and family members of the deceased to pay tribute to their loved ones who died whilst trying to protect the country.
The 31-year-old claimed that she did not remember damaging the memorial because she was drunk at the time.
Prosecutor Arfan Ahmed said:
‘This matter took place on 10 June, and it relates to criminal damage of the walls inside the Bomber Command Memorial.
‘The defendant took in a tin of paint and placed it on the floor.
‘She then picked up a paintbrush and painted the words in blue paint ‘all lives matter.’
‘This is all captured on CCTV; she is also seen in possession of and swinging a bottle of what appears to be brandy.
‘If any family members of The Royal Air Force were to see that, they would have been caused serious alarm or distress, seeing those words painted, and the memorial defaced in that manner.’
The memorial was scrubbed clean soon after it was damaged costing the RAF Benevolent Fund £400 pounds.
Mr Ahmed added:
‘It’s premeditated. It’s a planned attack – you don’t walk down to the Bomber Command Memorial with a tin of paint.
‘It’s aggravated because it’s a public memorial and the content of the writing.’
‘The nature of the event seems to be stemming from a political event.
‘The nature of these offences seem to be politically motivated.’
Defence solicitor Laura Bayles denied that the attack was politically motivated. She said:
‘There was nothing said about political motivations. There is no evidence of that. She is very clear that she supports the Black Lives Matter movement.’
Barnes, of Shepherd’s Bush Road, west London, admitted criminal damage to property. She was ordered to pay £500 in compensation and £130 in costs.
A RAF Benevolent Fund spokesperson said:
“The RAF Benevolent Fund is proud to serve as the guardian of the Memorial, built to commemorate the 55,573 members of Bomber Command who died in its service during the Second World War.
“Our work to protect this legacy sits alongside our role at the RAF’s leading welfare charity – supporting serving and retired RAF personnel and their families in their time of need. Attacks like this not only divert staff time but also use valuable charity funds.”
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