Work begins on removing statue of slave owner Sir Thomas Picton in Cardiff after motion passed

Watch the moment carpenters began boarding up the statue

Work has begun on taking down a controversial statue from Cardiff City Hall, after a motion was approved for its removal following Black Lives Matter protests.

Cardiff councillors said the figure of slave owner Sir Thomas Picton should be removed for his involvement in the torture of a 14 year old girl while he was Governor of Trinidad.

The statue has been boarded up and permission sought from Welsh Government and CADW to remove it.

Cardiff Council said this process could take in excess of 20 weeks.

Fifty seven councillors voted for the statue's removal, five voted against that and there were nine abstentions.

Carpenters boarded up the statue on Friday ready for removal. Credit: Cardiff Council

The call to remove the statue was backed by Council Leader, Cllr Huw Thomas, who said: “I am pleased our Council has taken the decision to remove this statue and I’m also pleased that this decision was made following a public debate and a democratic vote.

“However, whilst gestures such as this are important, they cannot deflect us from the harder task of trying to address the challenges still experienced by Black communities today."

He added: “Although Cardiff has a proud history of multiculturalism, and a tradition of celebrating diversity, this cannot be an excuse for complacency or inaction, and we must acknowledge that there are people of colour in this city today who must deal with racism as a feature of their everyday lives."

It comes as a statue of slave trader Edward Colston was pulled down during racial equality protests in Bristol during the Black Lives Matter protests.

Sir Thomas Picton Credit: English Heritage

Sir Thomas Picton is remembered for his role in the Peninsular War and for being the highest ranking officer killed at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

But he also earned the moniker of "Tyrant of Trinidad" after serving as a governor there. He was known for his brutal regime on the island.

In 1806 he was convicted of ordering the illegal torture of a 14-year-old girl, Louisa Calderon.

He admitted to the charge but the conviction was later overturned.

It could take in excess of 20 weeks to remove the statue of Sir Thomas Picton from Cardiff City Hall. Credit: Cardiff City Council

Picton is also accused of having amassed a substantial fortune after profiting from the then legal slave trade.

petition for a 25m high obelisk in Carmarthen, known as the Picton Monument, to be renamed has also received 20,000 signatures.

There are roads and pubs across Wales named after Picton.

The First Minister of Wales has called for urgent review of the country's statues, streets and building names to address connections with the slave trade.