Natalie Hynde guilty of 'besetting' for anti-fracking superglue protest

Natalie Hynde outside court in August last year

Natalie Hynde outside court in August last year

First published in News
Last updated

The daughter of musicians Ray Davies and Chrissie Hynde has been found guilty after supergluing herself to a fellow anti-fracking protester outside the main gate of an exploratory oil drilling site.

Natalie Hynde, 31, and Simon Medhurst, 55, were convicted of "besetting" energy firm Cuadrilla's test drilling plant during high-profile protests near Balcombe, West Sussex, last summer.

Brighton Magistrates' Court heard the pair cost the firm around £5,000 through delaying deliveries for two hours after they superglued their hands together while Medhurst had his arm through the gate on July 31 last year.

Prosecutor Jonathan Edwards told the trial that access was hampered and Cuadrilla staff and contractors were prevented from going about their "legal right" to work there.

Hynde said her intention was to gain publicity by creating a "striking and symbolic" image to highlight concerns surrounding the controversial method of extracting natural gas from underground shale rock.

And Medhurst - a veteran of environmental campaigns including Newbury and the Hastings to Bexhill link road - also said the intention was to gain widespread publicity rather than obstructing Cuadrilla employees.

But finding the pair guilty, district judge William Ashworth said their protest "went beyond reasonable freedom of speech" as it disrupted access to the site for two hours.

The district judge told Medhurst and Hynde: "I'm sure that you did beset, in the true meaning of the word, the Cuadrilla site by locking yourselves around the gate and thereby controlling access to the site."

Hynde told the court she took part in the "peaceful, non-violent" direct action around seven days after arriving at the Balcombe site in a bid to galvanise public support against fracking.

Hynde said: "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."

Hynde said it was not their intention to obstruct access to the site. "However, if it did, then great," she said. "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."

Under cross-examination from Mr Edwards, Hynde was asked whether, due to her famous parents, she would have gained just as much media exposure without supergluing herself to Medhurst.

Confirming to the court who her parents are, Hynde went on: "If you are saying that holding a placard is enough, then it isn't. I have done those things and I wanted to take it one step further."

Hynde, of Paynton Road, St Leonards and Medhurst, of High Street, Hastings, had both denied a charge of "besetting" the premises.

But after being convicted, Hynde also pleaded guilty to trespassing on a railway bridge at Balcombe on August 18 last year.

Hynde, a King's College, London, English Literature graduate, was given a concurrent 12-month conditional discharge, and ordered to pay costs of
£400 and a £15 victim surcharge.

Medhurst, who has three previous convictions, was fined £200, and told to pay costs of £200 and a victim surcharge cost of £20.

The pair stood trial alongside three other defendants - Robert Basto, 65, of Blackborough Road, Reigate, Surrey, Jamie Spiers, 29, of no fixed address, and Nichola Sanger, 44, of Auckland Road East, Southsea, Hampshire, who also denied charges relating to the Balcombe protest.

Basto was convicted of obstructing the highway and acquitted of obstructing a policeman, Sanger was cleared of besetting the site by blocking its entrance, and Spiers will be dealt with later after he failed to attend court today.

Comments (13)

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5:35pm Mon 24 Feb 14

ronrostog says...

I hope her mother has said 'even though you are the Talk Of The Town, I'll Stand By You.' Don't Get Me Wrong but I hope this Kid has enough Brass in Pocket to pay her fine or else she may have to be told 'Stop Your Sobbing.' She is lucky though, in days of old she may have been Back On The Chain Gang......
I hope her mother has said 'even though you are the Talk Of The Town, I'll Stand By You.' Don't Get Me Wrong but I hope this Kid has enough Brass in Pocket to pay her fine or else she may have to be told 'Stop Your Sobbing.' She is lucky though, in days of old she may have been Back On The Chain Gang...... ronrostog
  • Score: -11

6:46pm Mon 24 Feb 14

LeonBIank666 says...

Did she superglue her face or does she always look like that?
Did she superglue her face or does she always look like that? LeonBIank666
  • Score: -10

7:12pm Mon 24 Feb 14

Maxwell's Ghost says...

What does she do for a living or does she live off her mother's fame?
Celeb kids always have the best start in life and rarely amount to anything, it's such a waste of opportunity.
What does she do for a living or does she live off her mother's fame? Celeb kids always have the best start in life and rarely amount to anything, it's such a waste of opportunity. Maxwell's Ghost
  • Score: -6

7:39pm Mon 24 Feb 14

mimseycal says...

Am I right in thinking that these are the only succesful prosecutions in this whole Fracking in Balcombe affair?
Am I right in thinking that these are the only succesful prosecutions in this whole Fracking in Balcombe affair? mimseycal
  • Score: 8

7:55pm Mon 24 Feb 14

JHunty says...

mimseycal wrote:
Am I right in thinking that these are the only succesful prosecutions in this whole Fracking in Balcombe affair?
Well it would help if the protestors were a little more consistent. So when they continually claimed that they intended to obstruct and prevent fracking taking place, that when they are charged with those offences, like obstruction, they admit them rather than deny them, which seems a little hypocritical. Like the first ever squatters charged under the new laws who claimed to be protesting against the new squatting laws by squatting then when taken to court, denied that they were squatting. Hypocrites without the courage of their supposed convictions.
[quote][p][bold]mimseycal[/bold] wrote: Am I right in thinking that these are the only succesful prosecutions in this whole Fracking in Balcombe affair?[/p][/quote]Well it would help if the protestors were a little more consistent. So when they continually claimed that they intended to obstruct and prevent fracking taking place, that when they are charged with those offences, like obstruction, they admit them rather than deny them, which seems a little hypocritical. Like the first ever squatters charged under the new laws who claimed to be protesting against the new squatting laws by squatting then when taken to court, denied that they were squatting. Hypocrites without the courage of their supposed convictions. JHunty
  • Score: 1

10:28pm Mon 24 Feb 14

B Chudrun says...

Just read through the comments section.. and conclude it cannot be the case that there has been any depth of understanding regards why those prosecuted did what they did. Shame - even the judge seemed to get that bit. May I suggest you go to the court and listen next time. By the way, I own my own business so recognise I am in a position of some freedom regards when I take time to study and listen.. and attend court. However, if you can't attend, you can bother to Google - how about the 1000 medical professionals in the USA who just asked Obama to help stop 'fracking' in the USA due to unacceptable threat to health... - then you might understand the issues, and why people, whatever their background, will risk arrest, and why the rest of us should be grateful to those who highlight the urgent need to pay attention to what would otherwise go unnoticed. Try to see the wood for the trees!
Just read through the comments section.. and conclude it cannot be the case that there has been any depth of understanding regards why those prosecuted did what they did. Shame - even the judge seemed to get that bit. May I suggest you go to the court and listen next time. By the way, I own my own business so recognise I am in a position of some freedom regards when I take time to study and listen.. and attend court. However, if you can't attend, you can bother to Google - how about the 1000 medical professionals in the USA who just asked Obama to help stop 'fracking' in the USA due to unacceptable threat to health... - then you might understand the issues, and why people, whatever their background, will risk arrest, and why the rest of us should be grateful to those who highlight the urgent need to pay attention to what would otherwise go unnoticed. Try to see the wood for the trees! B Chudrun
  • Score: 3

10:39pm Mon 24 Feb 14

getThisCoalitionOut says...

I've never heard of "besetting" before - that's a new one!

Shame it was successful this time as no one should be charged except Cuadrilla for ruining our country.
I've never heard of "besetting" before - that's a new one! Shame it was successful this time as no one should be charged except Cuadrilla for ruining our country. getThisCoalitionOut
  • Score: 7

6:34am Tue 25 Feb 14

JHunty says...

B Chudrun wrote:
Just read through the comments section.. and conclude it cannot be the case that there has been any depth of understanding regards why those prosecuted did what they did. Shame - even the judge seemed to get that bit. May I suggest you go to the court and listen next time. By the way, I own my own business so recognise I am in a position of some freedom regards when I take time to study and listen.. and attend court. However, if you can't attend, you can bother to Google - how about the 1000 medical professionals in the USA who just asked Obama to help stop 'fracking' in the USA due to unacceptable threat to health... - then you might understand the issues, and why people, whatever their background, will risk arrest, and why the rest of us should be grateful to those who highlight the urgent need to pay attention to what would otherwise go unnoticed. Try to see the wood for the trees!
Blah blah blah blah blah I have an opinion so Im more important than you blah blah blah Im right your wrong blah blah blah I can do what ever I like because Im me blah blah blah

Protesting within the law is fine, taking the law into your own hands isn't.

Or you could read up on the subject and realise that fracking is not going to take place at Balcombe so the protests were actually pointless
[quote][p][bold]B Chudrun[/bold] wrote: Just read through the comments section.. and conclude it cannot be the case that there has been any depth of understanding regards why those prosecuted did what they did. Shame - even the judge seemed to get that bit. May I suggest you go to the court and listen next time. By the way, I own my own business so recognise I am in a position of some freedom regards when I take time to study and listen.. and attend court. However, if you can't attend, you can bother to Google - how about the 1000 medical professionals in the USA who just asked Obama to help stop 'fracking' in the USA due to unacceptable threat to health... - then you might understand the issues, and why people, whatever their background, will risk arrest, and why the rest of us should be grateful to those who highlight the urgent need to pay attention to what would otherwise go unnoticed. Try to see the wood for the trees![/p][/quote]Blah blah blah blah blah I have an opinion so Im more important than you blah blah blah Im right your wrong blah blah blah I can do what ever I like because Im me blah blah blah Protesting within the law is fine, taking the law into your own hands isn't. Or you could read up on the subject and realise that fracking is not going to take place at Balcombe so the protests were actually pointless JHunty
  • Score: -3

7:58am Tue 25 Feb 14

B Chudrun says...

J Hunty Could think for a few more minutes and realise it wasn't just 'fracking' people were (and still are) protesting about. Even take a moment to read the placards - erh Climate Change... and you could see that. What's all the 'blah blah?' Afraid of intelligent debate?
J Hunty Could think for a few more minutes and realise it wasn't just 'fracking' people were (and still are) protesting about. Even take a moment to read the placards - erh Climate Change... and you could see that. What's all the 'blah blah?' Afraid of intelligent debate? B Chudrun
  • Score: 2

8:31am Tue 25 Feb 14

JHunty says...

B Chudrun wrote:
J Hunty Could think for a few more minutes and realise it wasn't just 'fracking' people were (and still are) protesting about. Even take a moment to read the placards - erh Climate Change... and you could see that. What's all the 'blah blah?' Afraid of intelligent debate?
A vocal minority take the law into their own hands then try and avoid the consequences. I think they are hypocrites as I have explained and also like a lot of people I see the same faces protesting against fracking, against the EDL , joining the occupy movement or smash Edo or the UAF. Same tiny minority claiming they have a moral right to break the law to save the rest of us from the cuts, or from facism or from global warming (remember when it was called global warming?) I don't need or want any of these people breaking the law and claiming as a justification for doing so that they are trying to save me. As for climate change, we have seen how the greens have used that threat to try and engineer social change on a global scale. Ie the first world has to reduce green house emissions and their standard of living whilst the developing world is allowed to continue to pollute. That's not an answer to the problem. Nor is a refusal to tackle the issue of population control. Afraid of a debate? not at all but as you are clearly in the wooly headed category of non thinking climate change scarey maniac I'm not going to get a debate from you.
[quote][p][bold]B Chudrun[/bold] wrote: J Hunty Could think for a few more minutes and realise it wasn't just 'fracking' people were (and still are) protesting about. Even take a moment to read the placards - erh Climate Change... and you could see that. What's all the 'blah blah?' Afraid of intelligent debate?[/p][/quote]A vocal minority take the law into their own hands then try and avoid the consequences. I think they are hypocrites as I have explained and also like a lot of people I see the same faces protesting against fracking, against the EDL , joining the occupy movement or smash Edo or the UAF. Same tiny minority claiming they have a moral right to break the law to save the rest of us from the cuts, or from facism or from global warming (remember when it was called global warming?) I don't need or want any of these people breaking the law and claiming as a justification for doing so that they are trying to save me. As for climate change, we have seen how the greens have used that threat to try and engineer social change on a global scale. Ie the first world has to reduce green house emissions and their standard of living whilst the developing world is allowed to continue to pollute. That's not an answer to the problem. Nor is a refusal to tackle the issue of population control. Afraid of a debate? not at all but as you are clearly in the wooly headed category of non thinking climate change scarey maniac I'm not going to get a debate from you. JHunty
  • Score: 0

9:21am Tue 25 Feb 14

hursthill says...

jhunty is right, & we can add to his list of minorities taking the law into their own hands the protestors outside Sodastream , who use superglue, do hitler salutes & intimidate employees & shoppers.
jhunty is right, & we can add to his list of minorities taking the law into their own hands the protestors outside Sodastream , who use superglue, do hitler salutes & intimidate employees & shoppers. hursthill
  • Score: -3

10:49am Tue 25 Feb 14

mimseycal says...

JHunty wrote:
mimseycal wrote:
Am I right in thinking that these are the only succesful prosecutions in this whole Fracking in Balcombe affair?
Well it would help if the protestors were a little more consistent. So when they continually claimed that they intended to obstruct and prevent fracking taking place, that when they are charged with those offences, like obstruction, they admit them rather than deny them, which seems a little hypocritical. Like the first ever squatters charged under the new laws who claimed to be protesting against the new squatting laws by squatting then when taken to court, denied that they were squatting. Hypocrites without the courage of their supposed convictions.
Thank you. However that does not answer the question.
[quote][p][bold]JHunty[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]mimseycal[/bold] wrote: Am I right in thinking that these are the only succesful prosecutions in this whole Fracking in Balcombe affair?[/p][/quote]Well it would help if the protestors were a little more consistent. So when they continually claimed that they intended to obstruct and prevent fracking taking place, that when they are charged with those offences, like obstruction, they admit them rather than deny them, which seems a little hypocritical. Like the first ever squatters charged under the new laws who claimed to be protesting against the new squatting laws by squatting then when taken to court, denied that they were squatting. Hypocrites without the courage of their supposed convictions.[/p][/quote]Thank you. However that does not answer the question. mimseycal
  • Score: 0

2:53pm Tue 25 Feb 14

B Chudrun says...

Minority? Check out the official poll using the electoral roll from Balcombe Parish Council. The majority oppose Cuadrilla's activity - fracking or not - so try and see beyond the few faces..

JHunty are you in favour of unconventional oil and gas being exploited in the UK?
Minority? Check out the official poll using the electoral roll from Balcombe Parish Council. The majority oppose Cuadrilla's activity - fracking or not - so try and see beyond the few faces.. JHunty are you in favour of unconventional oil and gas being exploited in the UK? B Chudrun
  • Score: 2

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