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Thursday, March 30, 2023

Climate activists spared jail after smashing Barclays HQ glass

PA Media

A group of climate protesters who caused £100,000 of damage by smashing the front windows of Barclays’ headquarters have been spared jail.

On 7 April 2022, the group spread out along the front of the building in Canary Wharf, east London, before using chisels and hammers to break large glass panels.

The six women were previously convicted of criminal damage over the incident.

On Friday, they each were given prison sentences, suspended for two years.

More than 20 supporters whooped and clapped as a judge concluded the hearing at Southwark Crown Court.

Supporters gathered outside Southwark Crown Court

PA Media

Carol Wood, 54, Sophie Cowen, 32, Lucy Porter, 48, Gabriella Ditton, 29, Rosemary Webster, 64, and Zoe Cohen, 52, had each denied causing criminal damage.

During their trial they argued that Barclays staff would have consented to the damage if they were fully informed about the climate crisis and said they did not mean to cause as much damage as they did.

Owen Grenhall, the barrister defending Wood, said there had been no evidence of any distress caused.

“The value has to be assessed in the context of the event and one cannot ignore the fact that the income and profits made by Barclays are of an order greater than… it is hard to think of a comparable institution.

“It is not the same as causing that level of damage to a private individual home,” he said.

Mr Grenhall added that the group had meant to smash the glass but were “very surprised” by the extent of the damage.

Barclays HQ


Wood’s co-defendant Cohen said that she took action to help prevent a climate-induced disaster that would result in “100 holocausts” and said she “did not regret” her action.

Judge Milne told the group: “The consensus of scientific opinion supports your view that the world faces great danger and urgent action is needed. However, the strength of your beliefs has led you to take the law into your own hands.

“Breaking windows is violence. Violence against property but violence nonetheless. You also spoke of the dangers of society breaking down but it is you who chose to break the law.”

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