Man jailed for urinating on Gloucestershire war memorial


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The Independent Online

A man who urinated on a plaque in a war memorial in South Gloucestershire and scratched the word “prick” into the pavement has been jailed for 11 weeks.

John Rocky Ayres, 34, was charged with desecrating the First World War monument in the village of Mangotsfield on April 26 this year. Unshaven Ayres, of no fixed abode, accepted he had scratched the word "prick" on the pavement but denied urinating on the memorial.

North Avon magistrates' found his offences to be "so serious" only a custodial sentence was appropriate. They jailed him for 11 weeks and made an anti-social behaviour order against him for a period of two years.

The court heard that Ayres, who had been drinking heavily at the time and having problems with his family, was spotted by a passer-by who was outraged by what she saw.

Susan Hibbard said Ayres was standing over a plaque which is about knee height from the ground and contained details of the people who had paid for the granite cross. The memorial, which is dedicated to the lives of 32 brave soldiers who died during the First World War, was just feet away from where he stood.

She told the court she was driving past the memorial at about 5.45pm when she saw a "stream of urine" coming from Ayres in the direction of the plaque.

Giving his account to the court, Ayres, who cannot read, claimed Ms Hibbard had been mistaken and he "wholeheartedly" denied urinating on the war memorial.

Ayres, who is no longer drinking or on any drugs, added that the word "prick" had nothing to do with the war memorial, but was "going out to someone else".

Ayres originally pleaded not guilty to the charge of outraging public decency, but changed his plea on Friday, accepting he had scratched the word "prick" on the pavement.

Chair of the bench Patricia Manning told him: "We are sending you to prison today for a total period of 11 weeks, having taken into account your late guilty plea. It would have been 12 weeks had you not changed your plea to guilty today. The offence is so serious only a custodial sentence is justified."