A member of the Extinction Rebellion who caused £100k in damage sobs at the thought of going to jail.

A member of the Extinction Rebellion who caused £100k in damage sobs at the thought of going to jail.

An Extinction Rebellion protester sobbed as she was warned she and six other women may face prison time for smashing the glass of Barclays London headquarters with hammers and chisels and receiving a standing ovation from courtgoers.

Carol Wood sobbed in court yesterday after being found guilty of inflicting criminal damage to the bank’s Canary Wharf headquarters on April 7, last year, incurring approximately £100,000 in damage.

Ms Wood and the other campaigners Nicola Stickells, 52, Sophie Cowen, 31, Lucy Porter, 48, Gabriella Ditton, 28, Rosemary Webster, 64, and Zoe Cohen, 52, were found guilty by a jury after nine hours of deliberation.

They contended in court that their acts mirrored those of the suffragettes, who also destroyed windows in protest, and that Barclays is the world’s seventh biggest supporter of fossil fuels, and the largest in Europe.

Following the hearing, about 20 supporters in the public gallery gave the defendants a standing ovation.

Ms Cowen was the only member of the group who had never been convicted of a crime, with the other members having been convicted of criminal damage, deliberate blockage of a roadway, violating directives placed on public gatherings, or a combination of all three. Prosecutor Diana Wilson informed the ladies that their punishments might vary from community service to 18 months in jail, with judge Milne KC adding “all options” will be examined.

Sentencing will take place at Southwark Crown Court on January 27, 2023.

In April 2021, women from the protest organisation Extinction Rebellion stormed the front of Barclays Bank in East London, breaking its big glass panels with hammers and chisels.

According to the court, the group also placed flyers on the windows that stated, “In case of climate emergency, break glass.”

“Better broken windows than broken promises,” another poster posted at the site said.

The seven ladies then waited in a line on the street while being videoed and photographed by members of the public and the press, jurors heard. The organisation said in court that if Barclays employees had been properly aware about the climate problem, they would have agreed to the damage.

The prosecution refuted this, saying during her closing remarks that the activists shattered the windows to “impose their views and force change,” and that they “believe themselves to be above the law.”

Ms Webster, a trained chef, said she “cracked” the glass panes to “raise the alarm,” branding Barclays the “county lines of banking” and accusing it of “putting profits before people and the planet.”

Meanwhile, Ms Porter, a former teacher, told the court that although the bank’s windows had been replaced, “ecosystems” were irreplaceable. She went on to say that disturbing bankers over the course of a morning is equivalent to seeing a kid starve to death.

Ms Ditton said that Barclays is “financing the destruction of everything we know and love,” and that breaking the bank’s windows was “necessary” to “sound an alarm.”

Ms Cohen had already become a shareholder of the bank in early 2021 in order to bring forth a resolution requesting them to phase out finance for fossil fuels, but it was defeated. She said that she “honestly” felt there would be no other possibilities for change by April 2021.

Ms Cohen noted that the repair expenses, which totaled £97,022, were small for the huge bank, which spent £100 million on renovations last year. All seven denied causing criminal damage, but were all found guilty.

Extinction Rebellion reacted to the judgement with a video posted on Twitter that contained footage of the ladies destroying the bank’s windows last April, which the organisation said they “carefully cracked.”

“BREAKING: COURT VALIDATES BARCLAYS DEADLY SUPPORT FOR FOSSIL FUELS,” they tweeted.

Continuing: “ Today, 7 women were found guilty of criminal damage to Barclays HQ after they carefully cracked the windows in April 2021. They will be sentenced on 27th Jan & face up to 18 months in prison.”

Source: Extinction Rebellion activist who caused £100k damage weeps at prospect of prison

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