Natalie Hynde found guilty of 'besetting' a test drilling site
The daughter of musicians Chrissie Hynde and Ray Davies has been found guilty of “besetting” a test drilling site after she superglued herself to a fellow protestor in an anti-fracking demonstration.
As the BBC reports, 31-year-old Natalie Hynde and 55-year-old Simon Medhurst had both denied wrongdoing at the Sussex site in July last year, but district magistrate William Ashworth ruled that their actions had gone beyond “reasonable freedom of speech”.
After hearing that the protests had cost the firm £5,000 as a consequence of delaying deliveries, he told them: “I’m sure that you did beset, in the true meaning of the word, the Cuadrilla site by locking yourselves round the gate and thereby controlling access to the site.”
Hynde had claimed that the protest was an attempt to raise public awareness about fracking. She said that they had originally planned to dig a tunnel at the site, but later devised using superglue instead. “The purpose of it was to create an image in the media that would be striking and symbolic of the lock-the-gate process, and raise the profile of fracking,” she said.
“I wanted it to look peaceful, with the hands around the gate, and superglue seemed fast. I hadn’t done it either, so I thought it would be a good thing to try.”
Addressing whether she had intended to cause delays to the firm, she said: “I knew it would last long enough to get a good photo, and I knew there were press there. If it did [cause delays], then great. That wasn’t the intention. I didn’t think that it would be possible for two people to delay in any meaningful way. It was for a snapshot, and hopefully get more interviews after that.”
Hynde was given a 12-month conditional discharge in addition to having to pay costs of £400 and a victim surcharge of £15. Medhurst, meanwhile, was fined £200 and ordered to pay costs of £200 and a victim surcharge of £20. They were tried with three other defendants, who also denied the charges.