Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Punish War Memorial Vandals Properly

At the end of last year, I called for Sutton Council to lobby the Government to make criminals who vandalise War Memorials face a harsher punishment to take into account the particularly heinous nature of the crime. This followed the desecration of Carshalton War Memorial. The motion at Council received unanimous backing from councillors of all parties.

Only a month before Remembrance Sunday a callous thief ripped valuable York stone slabs from the 80 year-old landmark memorial located next to the Carshalton Ponds. Last month Samuel Ware, 22, was convicted of criminal damage at Croydon Crown Court and sentenced to two months in prison. The sentence has compounded the call for tougher sentences to be created by a legally distinct new criminal offence. As the law presently stands vandalism to war memorials is treated as conventional criminal damage.

Sutton Council wrote to the Prime Minister on 23rd November and received a standard response Number 10's 'communications unit' on 6th December. The letter said that the request had been passed to the Home Office for further consideration. As of today - three months on - no response has been received prompting accusations that this serious request has been ignored.

I am dismayed that we haven't had a response from the Home Office yet and fear our request has fallen by the wayside. People who desecrate war memorials are the scum of the earth. The violation of these monuments deserves separate recognition in the criminal law with appropriate punishments attached.

Gordon Brown loves to postulate when it comes to protecting Britishness but let's see him put his money where his mouth is. Let me know if you agree with me that he should back our call for a new criminal offence of vandalising and desecrating our war memorials.


Anonymous said...

I most certainly agree, councillor.

They are indeed the scum of the earth and justice requires a much more severe punishment.

Anonymous said...

100% agreement with you, Mr Scully. This vile little individual Samuel Ware deserves a lot more time behind bars than he's got. 2 months?

10 years would be more like it in my view.

Anonymous said...

i agree too,,it is a very nasty crime for people who died for the wars to be dissrespected like this..they should be shameful and we need more strong penalties for the crime


Anonymous said...

Quite right, these people are indeed the scum of the earth and should be punished accordingly.

I support this.

Anonymous said...

yes, i agree too, these brave servicemen died for our freedom and scumbags like Ware dare to violate their memory. it is disgusting. i would vote for this definately.

Anonymous said...

You can count me in too as i agree.

Adrian Short said...

It's an interesting idea, but once the principle is established, do you think it should be extended?

Criminal damage to all kinds of property is likely to provoke outrage that exceeds the economic value of the property itself. How about other historical monuments, listed buildings, irreplaceable artifacts, religious and national symbols?

In this particular case, the fellow in question should be made to visit the war cemeteries and memorials in France and Belgium. Perhaps then he'd understand the true nature of his crime and the public's revulsion at it. This would be in addition to an appropriate prison sentence and the visit would of course be taken at his own expense.

Anonymous said...

Mr Short, I think your suggestion is very sensible.

I used to love visiting castles across England and Wales. What always shocked me and choked me with anger was to see graffiti on these beautiful monuments to our history. I think there is scope for an extension, perhaps 'offences to national heritage' or something along those lines?

The 'man' if he can be called such, who vandalised this particular memorial deserves a longer and harsher term in prison.

Bob Steel said...

Since the police apprehended the guy the day after the first theft, according to the Sutton Guardian, one wonders why it took them three months to alert the public that the stones had been recovered. If the good Samaritan who sourced the replacements hadn't come forward would the cops have handed over the originals in time for the Remembrance day service a month later? I assume they still have them- or have they been sold on by now!?