Climate protesters guilty of criminal damage after smashing windows at Barclays headquarters | Climate News

Climate change protesters who caused nearly £100,000 in damage after smashing windows at Barclays bank’s London headquarters could face jail after being found guilty of criminal damage.

Carol Wood, 53, Nicola Stickells, 52, Sophie Cowen, 31, Lucy Porter, 48, Gabriella Ditton, 28, Rosemary Webster, 64 and Zoe Cohen, 52, were sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on Monday for the April 7 incident. Last year.

Besides Cowen, the other six women have previous convictions for criminal damage, willful obstruction of a highway, violation of public meeting instructions, or a combination of the three offenses.

The protesters were found guilty by an 11-to-1 jury after more than nine hours of deliberation.

Prosecutor Diana Wilson said the women could face sentences ranging from community orders to 18 months in prison.

Judge Milne KC said “all options” must be considered before adjourning sentencing until January 27 next year.

In April last year, the group stretched along the frontage of Barclays bank in Canary Wharf, east London, before using chisels and hammers to smash the large panes of glass which constituted the outside of the bank.

Learn more about Extinction Rebellion

Their actions were associated with the climate change campaign group Extinction Rebellion.

During the trial, they argued that Barclays staff would have consented to the damages had they been fully informed about the climate crisis.

The prosecutor insisted that was not true during his closing speech. She added that they “do it to impose their views and force change” and because they “believe themselves above the law”.

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Webster described Barclays as the “county bank lines” and told jurors the company was the seventh-largest fossil fuel backer in global banking and the largest in Europe.

She said the bank ‘puts profits before people and planet’ and said it ‘cracks’ windows to ‘sound the alarm’.

She and Cowen, the founder of a social enterprise that helps people transfer their money to “clean banks”, told the court their actions mimicked the suffragettes, who “broke many, many windows”.

Porter, a former teacher, told jurors that the bank’s windows had been replaced but that the “ecosystems” are irreplaceable and that disrupting the bankers in one morning is incomparable to watching a child starve to death.

In his testimony, Ditton said Barclays was “funding the destruction of everything we know and love” and that it was “necessary” to smash the bank’s windows to “sound the alarm”.

The court heard Cohen became a Barclays shareholder in early 2021 to introduce a resolution asking the bank to phase out fossil fuel financing, which was later rejected.

By April 2021, Cohen believed she had no other options to try to turn things around, and the repair costs – £97,022 – were insignificant for Barclays, which had spent £100million on renovations the last year.

Stickells and Wood told the court they were “shocked” by the cost of the repairs.

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