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Woman facing jail over attack on Sir Captain Tom Moore’s statue

05 Oct 2022 4 minute read
Westminster Magistrates Court.

A climate activist, whose family live in the Welsh borders, is facing jail after pleading guilty to pouring faeces over a memorial for Sir Captain Tom Moore.

Madeleine Budd, 21, who lives in Manchester, damaged the life-sized statue of the World War Two veteran in Thistley Meadow, Hatton, south Derbyshire on Friday last week.

She appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday morning wearing a dark jumper and spoke quietly to confirm her name, address, date of birth and enter a guilty plea.

Derbyshire Police charged Budd on Monday with criminal damage to a war memorial to the value of £200 belonging to AGC Fabrications, whose managing director Austin Cox gifted the statue to Thistley Meadow.

Sir Tom shot to national fame when he raised almost £33 million for NHS charities during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic by walking laps of his garden in the run up to his 100th birthday.

He was later knighted by the Queen before he died with Covid-19 in February 2021.

Prosecutor Jordan Pratt said: “The facts of the case is that on September 30, the defendant attended the location of Thistley Meadow in Hatton where there is a statue, a silhouette of Sir Captain Tom Moore.”

Mr Pratt said Budd approached and “poured a bucket of human faeces all over the statue”.

Budd was wearing a T-shirt with the slogan “End UK private jets”, he said.

Mr Pratt said the incident was filmed and shared on social media as part of an environmental protest.

“This offence lasted for a short amount of time, it is only 30 seconds in length but the impact of this offence is substantial,” he said.

“This is an abhorrent act. I do not need to remind the court of the impact that Sir Tom had.

“He was a figurehead that a number of people rallied around in a fundraising effort that raised tens of millions of pounds in the height of the pandemic.”

Mr Pratt said people will see Budd’s act as “hugely disrespectful”.

He also argued that the offence was pre-meditated and would have required a huge degree of planning.

“The defendant has armed herself with a large amount of human faeces and turned it onto a statue,” he said.

“I imagine there will be a wide social outcry.”

Mr Pratt said that although the value involved was relatively low, the offence would have a harmful social impact.

Mr Pratt also described Budd as a “gun for hire” who is not “nailing her colours to the mast” on a particular issue but will instead commit offences at numerous protests.

District Judge Louisa Cieciora cut in to ask Mr Pratt if he was implying that Budd was paid to go to different protests.

“There is certainly no suggestion she is being paid. She will turn up and get involved in anything rather than a specific cause,” Mr Pratt replied, but he later added that protests she attended were environmental.

The court heard that Budd had breached a conditional discharge from April by committing the offence.

Ms Cieciora said she would be adjourning sentencing for a pre-sentence report until October 25.

Francesca Cociani, defending, made an application for conditional bail, saying Budd was living in a van on a south Enfield site and could remain there indefinitely, sign into police stations and agree not to attend protests.

But Ms Cieciora ruled that she had “substantial grounds” to believe Budd may commit another offence while on bail.

The judge told the court that the starting point for sentencing could be one year and six months in jail.

Before leaving the dock, Budd asked: “Can I say something now?” to which the judge said she would have to wait until the full sentencing hearing.

A man in the public gallery then stood up and told the judge: “On behalf of every veteran member, thank you very much.”

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