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Police hunt for man who urinated on Southampton Cenotaph
IT has been branded a disgusting insult to the heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Now a hunt has been launched to find the man who caused outrage by urinating on Southampton’s cenotaph during a controversial drunken student bar crawl.
Veterans say they are disgusted at the lack of respect shown to both soldiers who have fought valiantly for their country in the past and to those who are currently risking their lives in Afghanistan.
Police are trying to trace the man who chose to relieve himself against the war memorial which bears the names of almost 2,000 people who have died in conflict – just yards from the next bar on the Carnage UK organised crawl.
Secretary of the Southampton branch of the Royal British Legion Archie Parsons told the Daily Echo he was outraged at the desecration.
He said: “It’s a terrible lack of respect. The cenotaph is almost sacred ground.
“It’s not just remembering those who gave their lives previously in the First or Second World War. There are guys out in Afghanistan now, laying their lives on the line for their country every day.
“To be honest, this guy is lucky he’s not out in Afghanistan.
“He should have to spend some time with people who go out and raise money for the charities such as Help for Heroes or the Royal British Legion – maybe that would bring it home to him how lucky he is.”
He said: “This disgusting act cannot be tolerated. While I support young people having a good time in Southampton, I will not tolerate anyone who can show such blatant disrespect to our fallen heroes.”
Around 1,000 people, each wearing £10 T-shirts guaranteeing free entry to seven venues, joined the booze-fuelled tour for students, organised to coincide with Freshers’ Week at the city’s two universities.
Marshals employed by Carnage UK to keep revellers safe and prevent trouble accompanied groups from the Bedford Place area down to the city centre. But they could not stop some from falling over or vomiting in the street as the alcohol took its toll, and they were not around when the man urinated on the cenotaph.
The photograph was published in a national newspaper yesterday after being taken by a Hampshire-based news agency.
The historic memorial is just yards from where Solent University is planning its own tribute to Hampshire’s war heroes, with a piece of artwork on the side of the Sir James Matthews Building commemorating the Spitfire, which was designed and built in Southampton.
Police confirmed they made three arrests on Thursday night when Carnage was staged – one for drunk and disorderly behaviour, and the other two in connection with an assault.
City centre Inspector Phil Bates said officers are also investigating the urination, and are keen to hear from anyone who knows who the young man is.
He said: “The actions of the young person urinating on the cenotaph are unforgivable and we’d like to identify him so we can consider appropriate action.”
What is Carnage?
CARNAGE UK has been a controversial presence in the Southampton student calendar for several years, with the company behind it boasting that 30,000 students have taken part.
It has sparked criticism for promoting binge drinking, and provoked complaints from residents over increased antisocial behaviour, but has passed off without incident several times.
But both the University of Southampton and Southampton Solent University have banned Varsity Leisure Group (VLG) from operating or even promoting its events anywhere of their campuses. A Solent spokeswoman said: “We are committed to the wellbeing and safety of our students and we run various campaigns to raise awareness of sensible drinking. We do not condone any commercial organisation that encourages young people to drink excessively.”
A spokesman for Southampton University added: “A number of initiatives are in place to warn students about the dangers of high levels of alcohol intake and actively promote student events that do not involve alcohol.”
A VLG spokesman last night said the firm was “appalled” by the individual’s actions, saying: “VLG has the greatest respect and admiration for all those who lost their lives in the defence of this country. The perpetrator of this despicable act will not be welcome at future events held by Carnage UK.”
At one point yesterday a leading VLG figure offered a “substantial reward” on his social networking site to anyone who could identify the culprit.
The appeal was later removed.
Carnage is due to hit the city’s streets for another tour of bars and clubs on October 21.
Not the first time
THIS is not the first time someone has urinated on a war memorial while on a Carnage UK bar crawl.
Last year, student Philip Laing, 19, from Cheshire, avoided a jail sentence despite pleading guilty to outraging public decency.
He was also photographed relieving himself on poppies placed at a memorial during a seven-hour drinking binge in Sheffield.
The district judge who sentenced Laing to 250 hours of community service and £185 costs said he believed event organisers should have been prosecuted alongside him.