woman was fined £12,000 for throwing herself a birthday party on the day of Prince Philip’s funeral, and within hours of two parties taking place in Downing Street.
Vianna McKenzie-Bramble, 28, was hit with the punishment for the outdoor celebration on April 17 last year, when around 40 people enjoyed food, drink, a DJ set, and a bouncy castle on the Hackney estate where she lives.
That was the day of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral, when Covid rules meant the Queen had to sit alone during a church service as she said goodbye to her husband of 74 years.
Downing Street – already facing an avalanche of claims that illegal gatherings took place throughout the pandemic – was hit overnight with the revelation that two parties were held by staff on the night before Prince Philip’s funeral.
One was a leaving do for Boris Johnson’s former director of communications James Slack, who has now apologised for the “anger and hurt caused”, accepting: “This event should not have happened at the time that it did.”
The other party is said to have marked the departure of a photographer, allegedly taking place in the Downing Street basement with a DJ set and a suitcase of wine.
McKenzie-Bramble was taken to task by a Met Police officer for the timing of her party on the day of the Royal funeral.
“It was a clear and blatant disregard of the recent easing of lockdown measures”, said PC Lindsey England in a statement to support the prosecution.
“I explained to Vianna that there needed to be consequences for her actions, namely organising such a large gathering during a time where there is still such a significant risk to public health.
“On this day in particular it was the funeral of His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip.
“The country is in morning (sic) and only limited members of his close family were able to attend the ceremony.
“Vianna being so blasé about organising such a large and illegal event for her 27th birthday party is totally unacceptable and disrespectful in light of everything that is going on in the world.”
McKenzie-Bramble faced police action after a complaint by a neighbour, when she had erected a marquee in the communal garden, hired a bouncy castle, and bought alcohol and food.
She was fined £12,000 plus £300 in costs and court fees at a hearing last September, with an order to pay the five-figure bill within 28 days.
Scotland Yard has resisted calls to investigate the parties at Downing Street for alleged Covid-19 breaches, insisting it is waiting for the results of an internal probe by a civil servant.
More than 2,000 people have been criminally prosecuted by the force for pandemic rule-breaking in the last two years, leading to fines of more than £1.2 million.