Now Extinction Rebellion clowns who bought fire engine then used it to spray fake blood over the Treasury in eco-stunt are cleared of criminal damage
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A group of Extinction Rebellion protesters who bought a fire engine and used it to spray fake blood over the Treasury in central London have been cleared of criminal damage.
The activists bought the vehicle in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, before driving it to the government building in Horse Guards Road, Westminster on October 3, 2019.
They sprayed hundreds of litres of red dye at the building, causing £16,000 worth of damage, Southwark Crown Court heard.
Richard Garfitt-Mottram, 66, Molly Lipson, 29, Daniel Blackmore, 32, Liam Norton, 39, Cathy Eastburn, 56, and Joel Scott Halkes, 41, all denied conspiracy to commit criminal damage.
Garfitt-Mottram, Lipson, Blackmore, Norton, and Eastburn were all cleared by the jury at Southwark Crown Court after a month-long trial.
Police stand in front of the Treasury building during an Extinction Rebellion protest in London in 2019
The activists sprayed hundreds of litres of red dye at the building, causing £16,000 worth of damage, Southwark Crown Court heard
The protesters have now been cleared of criminal damage following a one-month trial
The jury failed to reach a verdict against Halkes but Judge Justin Cole said it was not in the public interest for him to face a retrial.
Prosecutor James Keely told jurors at Southwark Crown Court: ‘On 3 October, 2019 Extinction Rebellion held a protest at the treasury building in the heart of London.
‘A fire engine was used to spray red dye, which looked like blood, at, and onto, the treasury building.
‘Fortunately, those present and involved in the protest lost control of the fire hose thereby limiting the damage that was caused, however substantial damage was caused, and a subsequent cost was incurred in order to remedy and clean up what was done, which was over £16,000.’
The fire engine was driven by Mark Ovland, 40, who earlier admitted his involvement in the conspiracy.
Referring to CCTV footage of the incident Mr Keely told the court ‘We come to the spraying of the treasury building with the red dye * we see a fountain of red dye coming from the hose that Mr Ovland has in his hands onto the treasury building.
Extinction Rebellion protesters sprayed the treasury with fake blood
‘We see there has been spillage already onto the pavement and we can see that on the steps as well.
‘Soon enough the hose went out of control, it went out of control, and we can see it gushing red dye onto Horseguards Road.’
READ MORE: ‘A green light to commit crime’: Outrage as jury CLEARS Extinction Rebellion over railway blocking stunt after judge said it’s their human right to protest… just days after Colston vandals were found not guilty
In her closing speech Eastburn, a musician, told jurors: ‘Some of you, when you first heard me say I believed the Treasury would have consented if they’d known the full facts, might think that sounds a bit ridiculous. But consider the alternative.
‘The alternative is that they knew that more fossil fuel projects would kill hundreds of thousands of people over the next few years, from Pakistan to Libya, Hawaii to Europe, and carried on investing public money, our money, that could have gone to schools and hospitals, in new fossil fuel projects around the world.
‘That would be far worse than ridiculous. And I find that much harder to believe. Because ultimately my guess is that the people who work in the Treasury aren’t so different from me and from you. And I don’t think any of us would do something if we knew it would cause so much death and human suffering.’
Garfitt-Mottram, of Hackney, Lipson, of Haringey, Blackmore, of Buckinghamshire, Norton, of Scarborough, Eastburn, of Lambeth, and Scott-Halkes, of Cornwall, all denied and were cleared by the jury conspiracy to commit criminal damage.
Ovland, of Somerton, Somerset, admitted the charge and awaits sentence.
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