Heathrow 13 “had real conscience”


Heathrow 13 “people of real conscience”

Image caption
Supporters of the 13 convicted protesters were outside court in north London

Thirteen climate change activists after a protest at Heathrow caused 25 flights to be cancelled have been described as “people of real conscience”.

The barrister representing four of the activists said the group had acted on “deeply-held beliefs”.

They are awaiting sentence after being found guilty of aggravated trespass and entering a security-restricted area.

During their trial the court heard their actions caused “astronomical” costs and disruption.

The demonstration took place in July last year, when the defendants from the direct action group Plane Stupid cut through a fence at Heathrow Airport and chained themselves together on a runway.

More on this story and other news from London

Image caption
The protesters acted on “deeply-held” beliefs, the sentencing hearing was told

They were told when they were found guilty they could expect to receive jail sentences.

Arguing against a prison sentence, Kirsty Brimelow told Willesden Magistrates Court they believed they had been “acting in the public interest” and highlighted what she called a “hard-fought for” tradition of civil disobedience.

She said: “We have come a long way since the days of the suffragettes, since those people would have been locked up and treated appallingly.”

District Judge Deborah Wright said her understanding was that “immense” costs had been caused by the protest.

Prosecutor Robert Short said prosecution costs were running at about £14,000.

Sentencing will take place later on Wednesday.

The defendants: