Shamed RAF veteran slammed after urinating on war memorial

Colin Smith outside of Hartlepool Magistrates Court
Colin Smith outside of Hartlepool Magistrates Court

A SHAMED Royal Air Force veteran has been branded a “disgrace” after he urinated on Hartlepool’s war memorial.

Colin Smith was caught by two policemen using the war memorial in Victory Square – which displays the names of hundreds of war dead – as a toilet.

The 47-year-old told Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court he had been out watching a band in The Studio, in Tower Street, and decided to “toddle off home”.

But when he reached Victoria Road he was desperate for the toilet and so he urinated on the war memorial.

Chairman of the bench Joan Fenwick branded Smith’s actions as “disgraceful” and said: “Of all the people, I wouldn’t have expected you to have done that. It was disgraceful.”

Prosecuting, Lilian Atkinson said: “It was 1.20am that this defendant, we say, whilst drunk, urinated against the memorial in Hartlepool.

“It was witnessed by police officers who approached this defendant. He swore and told officers what he was doing and then said ‘arrest me if you want to’.

“He was asked for his details and he refused and again swore at officers.

“He was warned regarding his conduct and was clearly drunk, so was arrested for being drunk and disorderly.”

Hartlepool-born Smith, who now lives in the south west and has family members still living in the town, pleaded guilty to being drunk and disorderly on February 4.

He represented himself in court, and after initially speaking to the justices in Latin, said: “I’m a British war veteran.

“I was home and had a few drinks at The Studio. I toddled off home in desperate need of a wee basically, and unfortunately it’s been publicised about the lack of public toilet facilities in Hartlepool town centre.

“So I was unable to relieve myself.”

Smith, who claimed to have travelled the world since leaving the forces in 1986 and works “as and when” as an aircraft and helicopter engineer, added: “I often visit churches and war memorials because I like to be close to them.

“I decided, as peacefully and discreetly as possible, to have a wee. I will put my hands up to that in a peaceful and guilty way.

“It wasn’t malicious, there was no violence. The officers of the law invited themselves into my life. I’ll put my hands up like a big boy.”

Today, former serviceman John Southcott, who is also chairman of the Heugh Gun Battery and Museum, on Hartlepool’s Headland, and military organisation the Royal British Legion slammed the former serviceman’s actions.

Mr Southcott said: “It’s a disgraceful thing to do especially when soldiers, servicemen and women, are still out there in Afghanistan fighting and dying.

“I’ve never heard anything like that before.

“It’s certainly not the sort of thing you’d expect an ex-soldier to do.”

And a spokeswoman for the Royal British Legion added: “The Legion is saddened to hear of this senseless incident.

“War memorials and graves honour the memory of the British Armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice and those who defend freedom we enjoy.”

Smith, of Vine Cottages, Whimple, Exeter, was fined £115, ordered to pay £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

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