ALF bomber gets 14 years

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BY JASON BENNETTO Crime Correspondent

A leading Animal Liberation Front activist whose tactics "bore the hallmarks of terrorism" was jailed for 14 years yesterday for attacks on meat and poultry targets and inciting others to carry out bombings.

Keith Mann, 28, was a "dedicated, ruthless full-time activist," Justice Stephen Mitchell said at the Old Bailey. He betrayed the cause of animal welfare and rights, which was close to the hearts of millions, the judge added.

Mann, of Bury, Lancashire, had admitted possessing explosive substances, attempted arson, criminal damage, incitement and escaping custody. A group of supporters protested loudly as he was sentenced and applauded him as he was led, waving, to cells.

Mann's goal had been economic sabotage. An abattoir near Oldham was the object of one attack in June 1990 which caused £6,000 damage, Anthony Gee QC, for the prosecution, said. A letter to a local newspaper the next day was in Mann's handwriting and claimed responsibility on behalf of the ALF.

Mann was under police surveillance in October 1991 when he and a woman were seen at a battery-hen egg farm near Canterbury, in Kent They ran away after planting eight incendiary devices that did not go off.

Mann was arrested and was awaiting trial in Walton jail, Liverpool, when he was seen passing a document to a visitor that encouraged others to plant incendiary devices, cause criminal damage and steal cars.

He escaped by breaking free from a police guard and wasfound 10 months later living at an East Sussex cat sanctuary