There's been a third person arrested in the case of Gladys Hammond's desecrated grave, this one being of a 62 year-old woman (the other two are men, aged 34 and 41). Significantly, the citizenry of 3 parishes have had it with being intimidated, have found considerable courage and are starting to fight back:
A 62-year-old woman was arrested today by detectives investigating the theft of the body from a Staffordshire graveyard, police said.
The woman was detained in the Burton-upon-Trent area by officers investigating the desecration, which is thought to have been the work of animal rights extremists. . . .
Mrs Hammond's body has not been found. She was the mother-in-law of Chris Hall, who runs a guinea-pig farm in Yoxall, near Burton-upon-Trent, which has been relentlessly targeted by animal rights extremists.
Mr Hall and his family, backed by neighbours in the village and surrounding parishes, will tomorrow ask the High Court for an unprecedented injunction against a campaign of intimidation culminating in the theft of the corpse.
The family is following the lead of Oxford University and Huntingdon Life Sciences by applying for a protest-free exclusion zone around their property. But for the first time, the community has rallied behind a company seeking a court order of this kind by adding an application for its own injunction to protect the parishes surrounding the farm.
My only quibble is that the good folks of Staffordshire hamlet didn't rally behind a company (see below).
Still, this is a big deal, regardless of the effectiveness of any injunction, should one be granted. Up until this point, the AR extremists had had their way with the citizenry of the Hall's small hamlet of Staffordshire and its surroundings, who they intimidated and terrorized at will link, link. Up until the grave's desecration, the locals were pretty much reduced to cowering in fear, content only to vent to the media when it came a-calling.
But the desecration of Mrs. Hammond's grave brought the community together in a common cause. That single obscene act has taken a bunch of individuals, each of whom (presumably) was prepared to tolerate intermittent acts of intimidation, coercion and terror against themselves and their neighbors, and has apparently welded the community into a single minded unit, willing to fight back.
Peter Clamp, who runs a haulage business, is bringing the injunction on behalf of the villagers of Yoxall, Newchurch and Newborough, where he lives. If successful, the joint exclusion zone will be one of the largest granted, covering seven parishes and an area of nearly 30 square kilometres.
Mr Clamp, who is also a parish councillor, said that members of the community were the victims of terrorism and had been left terrified by protesters. "This country needs someone to stand up against these minority protesters and I'm part of the injunction as a resident of the community," he said.
"The residents need a spokesperson. Enough is enough. The police have given me support and said there could be ramifications, but I'm prepared for that. I'm not a soft touch and won't be intimidated by anyone, and I'm not going to tolerate this sort of behaviour.
"I'm sick and tired of people being threatened. Over the past five years, residents have had explosions in fields and paint thrown over roads. Normal people going about their everyday business are frightened and intimidated."
Mr Clamp, 50, who has lived in Newborough for 20 years, described himself as an acquaintance of the Hall family. He said: "After the disruption of the grave I took the decision to do something about it. When the desecration happened, I'd never seen so much support from people for the victims of what they saw as an outrageous act. This can't go on any longer.
"We need a large exclusion zone because some residents live in very remote areas. I've had a lot of support from everyone — all who have contacted me have given me 100 per cent support."
Tim Lawson-Cruttendon, the solicitor-advocate who represented Oxford University and Huntingdon Life Sciences, has taken on the Hall family's case. . . . Mr Lawson-Cruttendon is bringing the case under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, which was originally drafted to shield women from stalkers.
This is an interesting legal angle, and we'll need to await developments to see where this all goes.
Finally, I think the author seriously misreads things by suggesting that the community has "rallied behind a company." The good folks of Staffordshire hamlet and vicinity rallied to a principle, against a profound moral injustice, against a violation of one of Man's most universal taboos, against the trampling of the sacred. The grave of one of their own had been defiled, and the locals reacted in righteous outrage, no differently from the way people have for many millennia.
I don't know of any culture in the history of the world in which the desecration of a grave isn't considered far, far beyond the pale. It is an act that shocks even atheists to numbness, and it is a measure of how far removed from common humanity the desecrators are.
And it is a measure of how blinded by their ideology the AR community is that they haven't condemned the act loudly, unequivocally and at every possible opportunity. If PeTA, for example, can actively seek out and condemn their idea of "animal abuse," and call for jail time and psychological counselling for those found guilty of it, surely they should not avert their collective eyes from the desecration of Gladys Hammond's grave, but should demand jail time and psychological counselling for those responsible.
As far as I know, it took some time before any Animal Rights person would condemn the Hammond grave's desecration. Ironically, it was John Curtin, who himself had served time for desecrating a grave, who was the one to speak out. But even he was equivocal, and ultimately he condemned the act because it he thought it would end up being a PR disaster to the AR cause. Here's what Mr. Curtin reportedly said, with my comments:
Curtin, a member of the Coventry Animal Alliance and who says he works at a Midland animal rescue centre, said: "It was my worst fear that I would be arrested over the Gladys Hammond grave robbing because I'm one of only two people in the universe with a criminal record for desecrating a grave. . . .
"I realise now how sick it was to do it. My own mother died a few years ago and I stood at her grave and thought about the Duke and regretted what I had done.
"But, at the same time, he was a man whose entire life was taken up with blood-sports. He was a psychopath who killed lions and tigers and protected species on safaris abroad, and who was mad about hunting.
Translation: I was wrong, but he had it coming.
"Mrs Hammond was different. I find what happened to her revolting and appalling like any other normal person - even though that might sound rich coming from someone like me.
"I would urge whoever has the remains to return them. For me, this grave robbing is like handing everything on a plate to our opponents.
"It's a disaster public relations-wise. I personally have issues with some of the attacks that have taken place against people only vaguely connected to the Hall family.
Yes - a public relations disaster. That's what's wrong with grave desecration! It's bad publicity! Hurts the cause, it does!
"But don't get me wrong. I think the Hall family are murderers. What they do is disgusting and I want them stopped. I want their farm closed."
Translation: The Halls have it coming — "it" being anything that isn't "a public relations disaster" for the AR cause.
Even the statement condemning grave desecration carries with it a threat ...
Mr. Curtin was both very right and very wrong: the desecration was a PR disaster, but that's not why it was wrong.
It is ironic that the silence from the leaders of the AR community (like PeTA), their failure to condemn the deed, would itself be a PR disaster were anyone from the media to make it a topic of discussion. Or so I would argue.