NewsCrime Desk

Woman urinated on war memorial in front of families

Kelly Martin war memorial (Pic: Express via Twitter)
Kelly Martin war memorial (Pic: Express via Twitter)

A drunken woman twice urinated on a war memorial in broad daylight in front of shocked families, including on the eve of the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, a court heard.

Kelly Martin, 42, pulled down her trousers and relieved herself in public on Thursday June 30 at the remembrance monument in Grays, Essex, it is alleged.

The following day was the 100th anniversary of the start of the Somme offensive, which began on July 1 1916 and cost hundreds of thousands of lives.

Martin was on bail at the time, having been arrested for urinating at the decades-old structure in April, when there were still Remembrance poppy wreaths on it, Basildon Magistrates' Court was told.

On both occasions she was among a crowd of people around the memorial when she dropped her trousers and relieved herself, her trial heard.

Essex Police Pc James Shelton, who arrested her after the alleged April 13 incident, told the court he was "shocked" by what he saw taking place in front of 15-20 people.

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."

Homeless Martin is also accused of throwing a bottle at, and verbally abusing, a paramedic at the memorial on June 30.

She denies two charges of outraging public decency, one of common assault and one of using threatening or abusive language.

Alison Gurden, defending Martin, asked Pc Shelton: "All you have seen is her in front of the war memorial with her trousers down and then being abusive towards you. The rest is your assumption, isn't it?"

The officer replied: "I saw her urinate."

Magistrates heard Martin was arrested following the June 30 incident in Grays High Street after a picture take by an eyewitness was posted onto social media and seen by police officers who recognised her.

The eyewitness, Edward Cottee, told the trial he was working in a nearby office and saw Martin leave a group of street drinkers and walk to the memorial before dropping her trousers.

Giving evidence from behind a screen he said he had seen her in the area between six and 10 times previously.

He added: "I saw her squatting down and urinating. It was directed against the base of the war memorial.

"I was disgusted by it. I thought it was extremely disrespectful so I reported it to the police."

He denied a defence claim that he had previously complained to police about the group but agreed that he wanted them moved away because of their "anti-social behaviour".

Prosecutor Victoria Shehadeh said that when interviewed by police, Martin admitted being an alcoholic but denied urinating on the war memorial.