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A woman charged with assault following an alleged incident with teenagers at a war memorial garden is to be defended by one of the country’s top defence lawyers.

Nick Freeman, whose celebrity clients include Sir Alex Ferguson, David Beckham, Caprice and Jeremy Clarkson, is providing his services free of charge to Julie Lake, who was arrested by Avon and Somerset Police following an alleged incident involving a 15-year-old youth at Mangotsfield, near Bristol.

Mr Freeman, whose uncle Frank died during the 1944 D-Day landings and grandfather Manny fought in the trenches during the First World War, said: “Julie Lake has won massive support for her actions.

“When I read the stories about her arrest, and then the fact she had been charged with criminal damage, assault and a public order offence, I contacted her and said I would waive my fees in order to represent her in court.

“War memorials should be treated with the utmost of respect. They are there to commemorate those who gave their lives fighting for the freedoms we take for granted. They are not there for teenagers to trash and desecrate.

“Mrs Lake shouldn’t be the one to stand in a courtroom dock, it should be the yobs who have constantly caused mindless vandalism to this memorial and its gardens over several years.

“This disgraceful conduct has not resulted in one prosecution. What an unfortunate irony that a lady such as Julie Lake should be regarded by the authorities as a criminal.”