Hynde 'superglued herself to protester' in anti-fracking blockade, court hears


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The Independent Online

Natalie Hynde, the daughter of The Kinks singer Ray Davies and The Pretenders’ star Chrissie Hynde, superglued herself to a protester during an anti-fracking demonstration, a court heard on Tuesday.

Ms Hynde, 31, and Simon Medhurst, 55, are jointly charged over last July’s incident which occurred near the entrance of a test drilling plant near Balcombe, West Sussex. The plant belonged to Caudrilla, one of the energy firms hoping to exploit the UK’s shale gas resources.

Ms Hynde was among a group of protesters who had been camping outside of the site for around a week last July, during the height of demonstrations against plans to conduct exploratory tests to try to find oil and gas in the area. The prosecution alleged that Mr Medhurst put his arm through the gate and linked it to Ms Hynde’s so that contractors acting for Cuadrilla could not get through to carry out their work.

After he was freed, Mr Medhurst is alleged to have said: “Good result. Looks like we managed to delay Cuadrilla for two hours.”

The prosecution alleges that specially trained police officers were forced to use solvents to separate the pair, before they were both arrested.

Prosecutor Jonathan Edwards told the court: “Fracking, as you may know, is a controversial practice. It has attracted a good deal of publicity, both local and national, and as a result demonstrators had formed a large crowd around the entrance of the site.”

Mr Edwards went on: “It is said that (Mr Medhurst and Ms Hynde) both glued their hands together with superglue whilst Mr Medhurst had his arm around the gate.” It meant that access to the site was hampered and Cuadrilla workers and contractors were prevented from going about their “legal right” to work there, he added.

Summarising the defence case, Mr Edwards said the pair claimed Cuadrilla had no legal right to undertake work at the site due to irregularities in obtaining licences. Both defendants said they were exercising their rights under Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Ms Hynde, of St Leonards-on-sea, East Sussex, and Mr Medhurst, of Hastings, deny a charge of “besetting” the premises.

During police interview, Ms Hynde and Mr Medhurst made no comment. The pair are standing trial alongside three other defendants: Robert Basto, 65; Jamie Spiers, 29; and Nichola Sanger, 44. Mr Basto is accused of climbing on to a large tanker and locking himself to an access ladder on 2 September. Ms Sanger is accused of handcuffing herself to the main gate and resisting attempts by a police officer to cut her free using boltcutters.

Mr Basto, of Blackborough Road, Reigate, Surrey, denies obstructing the highway, obstructing Pc Morgan in his duties, besetting and getting on a tanker in motion. Ms Sanger, of Willow Way, Hurstpierpoint, denies besetting, and Mr Spiers, of Auckland Road East, Southsea, Hampshire, denies the same charge and obstructing a highway.

The trial, which is due to last three days, continues.