Baptist pastor’s son, 18, accused of spray-painting Winston Churchill statue with the words ‘is a racist’ is ‘threatened with hanging as he enters court’
- Benjamin Clark was ‘threatened as he entered court’ with his father Andrew
- Onlookers shouted ‘he should hang’ outside of Westminster Magistrates’ Court
- Clark charged with one count of criminal damage after incident in September
A teenager accused of spray-painting a statue of Sir Winston Churchill with the words ‘is a racist’ was threatened as he entered court today, magistrates were told.
Onlookers shouted ‘he should hang’ at Benjamin Clark, 18, and his Baptist pastor father as they arrived at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
The teenager’s lawyer, Laura O’Brien, has indicated that he is expected to plead guilty to one count of criminal damage which took place during an Extinction Rebellion demonstration on September 10.
She also asked the court to make an order banning the publication of his address because he had received threats at his home and his father’s place of work.
Onlookers shouted ‘he should hang’ at Benjamin Clark (pictured), 18, and his father as they arrived at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today, magistrates were told
‘There were threats sent to both his home address and the workplace of his father,’ she told the court.
‘There are people outside who were shouting at Mr Clark and his father on the way to court. People walking around wearing Union Jacks and can be easily identified as part of this group.
‘One of the threats included that he should hang. This is really unpleasant and there is a very real reason to think that these are legitimate threats.’
The teenager’s father Andrew Clark is a pastor at a Baptist church in Hertfordshire, describing himself as a ‘trained spiritual director’.
Clark was arrested after the plinth of a monument to Winston Churchill in Parliament Square, London was defaced in September with yellow graffiti including the words ‘is a racist’
The teenager was one of at least 680 people arrested in connection with 10 days of Extinction Rebellion protests in London. Pictured: The statue in London on September 10
Clark was arrested after the plinth of the monument to the former prime minister in Parliament Square, London was defaced in September with yellow graffiti including the words ‘is a racist’.
Pictured: Clark’s father, Baptist pastor and ‘trained spiritual director’ Andrew Clark
The teenager was one of at least 680 people arrested in connection with 10 days of Extinction Rebellion protests in London.
Others were held on suspicion of obstructing the highway and breaching conditions of protest set under the Public Order Act when the actions began on September 1.
Last month, Metropolitan Police commander Jane Connors described the protests as a ‘significant challenge’ during a ‘public health crisis’.
‘The public have a right to protest, but they do not have a right to cause disruption to the communities and businesses across London. That is why we took swift action to make a number of arrests,’ she said.
‘This has been a large policing operation and we will continue to investigate those who we suspect to have committed offences, so the number of arrests is likely to rise.’