March 8th of this year, at 10:50 am, three police officers came
round to my flat out of the blue, and charged me with riot.They
claimed I was involved with the trashing of Alan Summersgill's
house after the murder of Mike Hill, a few weeks before. I had
heard about Mike Hill, it was a tragedy, but not really surprising
sadly, as most of us in our time have had to face a blood crazed,
mentally deranged huntsman and it was only a matter of time
before this happened.
police told me I had been identified from a photograph taken
at the time. This is impossible because I wasn't there, maybe
in spirit perhaps, but I am a single parent with a son of
6, and I realised long ago that I couldn't be a parent and
an activist, but I could support the struggle from the sideline.
This is what I have been doing for the last 4 or 5 years,
but the police obviously took one look at my past record,
one look at a grainy photograph of someone who looks slightly
me, and decided to pin it on me.
son was at school that day but I was told that I would be
released in a couple of hours. They forgot to take off my
watch at the station, I was locked up at 11.15 am, after being
told I would be interviewed "in an hour or so".
At 4.30 pm I was taken out, and handed over to two detectives
who told they were going to take me to Northwich, in Cheshire,
for questioning. I told them I had a small son to think of
and asked what was going on. They laughed and one said "you
didn't think about that the first when you went to Chester,
did you?!" I asked "have you ever heard of the phrase
'innocent until proven guilty?'" He didn't seem to understand,
just laughed again. I was allowed to speak briefly to my Mum
who was looking after my boy, and then I was taken to Northwich
with the two detectives, who I learned later were the two
who had decided the person in the photograph was me. I had
never met either before.
got to Northwich at 7.00 pm, and I was interviewed with a
solicitor present, one which my family had arranged for me.
The whole interview lasted 2-3 minutes. They kept on about
the photograph but wouldn't show it to us. I was fingerprinted,
photographed, etc, then put in the coldest cell I had ever
been in. From arriving there I had repeatedly told them I
was a vegan, but after a freezing sleepness night I was offered
bacon and eggs (that old joke). The woman on breakfast duty
didn't know what 'vegan' meant. At 9.00 am they sent me a
tomato on a plate. I felt they were taking the piss and sent
it back. Eventually I was taken to Chester court, 17 miles
away, and handcuffed and hungry, I was given bail, as long
as someone stood a £1000 surety. I was taken to Chester
Police station and checked in.
my parents were kept in touch via my solicitor, and my dad
immediately went to Coventry Police station with proof of
his bank balance. This was at 11:10 am. I was again locked
up whilst the desk sergeant waited for the proof to be faxed
through. After an hour, he came and said Coventry police were
still checking up on me and my family (whatever that meant).
So I asked for some food as I hadn't eaten in 24 hours. I
said again I was a vegan and he said I'd have
to eat what the others do. It was lucky there were plenty
of brick walls for me to smash my head against. At last, at
1.45 pm, 1 1/2 hours after my dad had offered the £1,000,
and 27 hours after they had stood on my doorstep, promising
" a couple of hours", I was finally freed. My Dad
had left £15 for me at Coventry police station so they
could issue me a travel warrant, but the desk sergeant decided
that as I had £60 on me, (I was going to pay my gas
bill that day), I could
afford my own way home.
getting back to Coventry I learnt that friends had started
out to pick me up from Chester but had broken down halfway
and had to phone for a mechanic etc. - so it cost us all dearly
that day and not just in money. The way I see it is if you're
going to be put through an experience like that, every time
the police need a few arrests, then why be law-abiding? My
little boy hates policemen, and under that is fear, and I'm
sure he'll never go to one for help. My solicitor says that
one photograph is all the evidence they have against me. The
charge will be hanging over me, at least, until November,
and that is just another example of Great British justice.
My fault ,perhaps, for being in possession of dreadlocks,
a tatty parka and a "strange" diet.
In the end Jill was totally cleared of any involvement in
the riot, although many Hunt Sabs were sent to prison as a
result of the trashing of Summersgill's house. It will come
as no suprise that Alan Summersgill himself was cleared of
killing Mike Hill and never faced justice.
many Animal Rights People, this wasn't the only time something
like this happened to Jill. Several years after this raid,
the police raided Jill's flat and her Mother Nancy's flat,
arresting Jill, Nancy, Jill's aged dad Bob and Jill's partner
Justin ... they were accused of being part of an ALF action
against Glaxo ... but again they were eventually cleared of