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Palestine Action Vandals Jailed For Causing £1m ‘Orgy of Destruction’

Great news, as Palestine Action vandals have been jailed for causing an enormous amount of damage at a factory.

Four Palestine Action activists whose orgy of destruction at a factory in Wales allegedly cost a company £1.2 million were jailed yesterday. Judge Rhys Rowlands at Mold Crown Court said they had demonstrated “a degree of arrogance” as they sought to put the Teledyne Labtech factory at Presteigne in Powys, employing 64 workers, out of action for as long as they could.

Their protest involved “quite extreme behaviour.” Ruth Hogg, 40, an artist and PhD student who’d been to Calais to support asylum-seekers, claimed she took part in direct action because she believed the site made component parts for weapons used against Palestinians.

Hogg, of Stanley Road, Aberystwyth, who holds a Masters degree in fine art and worked at a gallery at the mid Wales town, denied conspiring to damage property on December 9. She was convicted after a trial and jailed for 27 months.

Her lawyer maintained the actual bill for the damage was closer to £57,000.

Let’s just stop here for a moment. Her defense is she “only” caused £57,000 of damage. I wonder how many years of her earnings that represents.

Susan Bagshaw, 55, of Clawdd Helyg, Commins Coch, an artist and former social worker, Morwenna Grey, 41, of Penrallt Street, Machynlleth, described by her counsel as “hardworking, kind and caring”, and Tristan Dixon, 34, a musician, of Huddersfield, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause criminal damage. They were each jailed for 23 months.

Miss Bagshaw pleaded guilty based on genuine remorse and makes it clear she regrets taking part and has no intention to do so again in future. She is 55 years old and has a longstanding history as an activist. In her lifetime she has made a positive contribution to the community through her community voluntary work and through a life of social work and care work. She has a burgeoning career as an artist and she has been producing art good enough to be sold.”

Grey’s barrister Nerida Harford-Bell said: “She is a very hardworking, very kind, very caring member of the community and has always worked caring for elderly and vulnerable persons. There is remorse for her actions and all those affected – not just for her family but also those who were in work at the factory.”

Rosalind Burgin, representing Tristan Dixon, said: “There is genuine remorse, guilt, and embarrassment over his actions. He is a 34-year-old sole trader selling items on eBay for hobbyists and is a musician playing gigs in the community.” And James Manning, Hogg’s barrister, added: “She is a person of principle who has learned her lesson. At the conclusion of her trial it was said that ‘sometimes good people do bad things’. She is a person of great principle who has allowed herself to make a mistake. She has reflected upon that and has learnt her lesson.”

All that is missing here is “and they are good to their mothers.”

Judge Rowlands told the defendants: “It has to serve as a warning to others who might be tempted to act in a similar fashion.” He said they caused an “enormous amount of wanton damage” at a site where there was little security and a close-knit workforce.

The judge said, “distastefully”, red paint had been sprayed on a memorial to a former colleague who’d died through illness. Most of the damage was caused inside the factory by Bagshaw and Grey.

But Hogg and Dixon remained on the roof much longer, causing damage. “This is a case of four individuals executing a previously agreed plan to cause as much damage and disruption as was possible,” the judge added.

There was serious consequential economic impact, a “sea of vandalism,” and risk to other people. Judge Rowlands said the court expressed no view about the validity of the protesters’ beliefs.

“What you are not entitled to do is to take the law into your own hands,” he told them. “The way to change policy is through the ballot box.”

Prosecutor Elen Owen said out of £1.2 million alleged damage “consequential” costs were put at £904,000. Counsel had said previously that the actions of the demonstrators were “sinister.”

The terrifying raid at the factory which had chemicals risked “catastrophic” results for anyone in the vicinity – a school and houses being nearby.

Ms Owen added: “This wasn’t a protest. It was a professionally planned attack on a soft target tantamount to a terrorist attack on people who didn’t deserve it.” Those involved were “hellbent” on causing as much damage as they could.

They were “tooled up” with a drill, crowbar, sledgehammer and angle-grinder and had balaclavas and smoke grenades. The factory produced circuit boards for various uses including life-saving MRI scanners but the intruders claimed they also made circuit boards for Israeli drones – something workers didn’t know.

She added: “They targeted a small factory in rural Wales with, at best, tenuous links to the arms companies because it would give them maximum publicity for minimum effort. You have no actual evidence, only what Ruth Hogg has told you.”

Hogg agreed in evidence that she had drilled holes in the roof of Teledyne Labtech to allow rain inside and try and stop work there. Questioned by her barrister, Hogg also agreed she had smashed windows after confirming with the fire service that the building was empty.

She had sprayed paint from a fire extinguisher through the broken windows. Red paint was to symbolise the blood of innocent people who had been killed.

She said the factory also looked like a bomb had hit it. “It’s an interesting parallel,” Ms Owen said. Defence lawyers said there was remorse and Bagshaw and Grey were non-violent protesters, Wales Online reported.

Bagshaw’s barrister Piers Mostyn said: “The conduct on the day was relatively spontaneous by all concerned. It was a protest intended to disrupt.

Yup, they just “spontaneously” arrived at the factory dressed in balaclavas and boiler suits with ‘Palestine Action’ written on them, carrying a sledgehammer, a crowbar, smoke canisters, drill, angle-grinder and a fire extinguisher filled with red paint.

Speaking after the conclusion of the case Ceri Evans of the Crown Prosecution Service said: “These defendants targeted a business that makes circuit boards as a way of making a political statement. The incident has caused a great deal of distress for those who witnessed it and has disrupted the working lives of many people. The strength of evidence presented by the CPS resulted in the jury ‘s guilty verdict in respect of Hogg and the guilty pleas from the remaining defendants.”

By the way, here are photos of the vandals:

Susan Bagshaw (Image: Dyfed-Powys Police)
Morwenna Grey (Image: Dyfed-Powys Police)
Ruth Hogg (Image: Dyfed-Powys Police)
Tristan Dixon (Image: Dyfed-Powys Police)

I never want to see them mentioned with the word “orgy” again.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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