Ambulance delayed for an hour by Insulate Britain protest, court hears

Ambulance was delayed by almost an HOUR during an emergency call-out because of Insulate Britain mob’s M25 protests, court hears

  • Three insulate Britain protesters admitted two counts of public nuisance
  • The trio blocked the M25 on September 13 at Junction 14 and then Junction 25
  • Sue Spencer-Longhurst, 69, Michelle Charlesworth, 55, and Meredith Williams, 51, will return for sentence at Stratford Magistrates’ Court on May 17

An ambulance was delayed by 55 minutes during an emergency call-out during one of the Insulate Britain protests on the M25, a court heard.

Climate protesters repeatedly brought the motorway to a standstill last September and the impact of their actions emerged as three people including a retired teacher admitted causing a public nuisance today.

Sue Spencer-Longhurst, 69, of Oxford, along with Michelle Charlesworth, 55, and Meredith Williams, 51, both of Abingdon, Oxfordshire, admitted two counts of causing a public nuisance.

The charges related to Insulate Britain protests at Junction 14 of the M25 on  September 13, and at Junction 25 two days later.

Sue Spencer-Longhurst, pictured right, pleaded guilty today to two counts of causing a public nuisance alongside Michelle Charlesworth, second right, and Meredith Williams, left at Stratford Magistrates’ Court

The trio were part of a group which blocked the M25 on September 13, 2021 (pictured) 

The trio also pleaded guilty for the part in a protest on the M25 on September 25, 2021

Prosecutor David Earl said: ‘Their protest was identical on each occasion. They sat on the slip road and held banners saying Insulate Britain.

‘This created a backlog on the slipway. Officers attempted to engage with the group and explain the risks to them but the protestors did not move and they were carried away from the scene.’

Referring to the first protest on September 13, he said: ‘The duration was between 08:43 and 11:41. It is estimated that 42,970 vehicles were affected with 1,449 vehicle hours lost and it is calculated that the financial impact was £62,669.

‘There is evidence of impact to the public. A woman, who was two hours late to visit her 95-year-old mother who had a fall while she was waiting; a tutor of special needs students and other teachers who were delayed in attending work and disruption was caused to students of those lessons.

‘There was also a pilot who missed his flight to Gibraltar which had to be rescheduled.’

On September 15, the protestors blocked the motorway between 08:11 and 11:46 and caused a blockage of 43,952 vehicles with a loss of 5,644 vehicle hours at a financial cost of £83,452.

Mr Earl said an ambulance was 55 minutes late to a chest pain emergency callout and a funeral director was 30 minutes late to a funeral.

Retired primary school teacher and potter Spencer-Longhurst read out a prepared statement from the dock explaining the reasons for her protests.

She said: ‘I am truly sorry for the disruption caused. I would like to say that among the many frustrated drivers there were some who thanked us for what we were doing and I am convinced that others are not really aware of the climate crisis because of the government and the media.

‘Many people cannot afford to heat their homes. It is a situation that is worsening.

‘The Russian invasion of Ukraine has shown that we need to remove our dependency on fossil fuels. We can do this by insulating people’s homes as well as keeping people warm and providing good jobs.

‘I am not a dangerous radical but I am very scared when I consider our children’s futures and the future of all living things on the planet.

‘Petitions and letters have been sent and I have made significant changes to my lifestyle in order to lower my carbon footprint but it seems that only civil resistance is left. I don’t know what else to do.’

Spencer-Longhurst, of Oxford, and Williams and Charlesworth, both of Abingdon, will return to Stratford Magistrates’ Court for sentence on May 17.

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