In the UK, an AR vandal will be viewing the world from within the slammer for the next 6 years or so. The Scotsman reports:
A woman described by police as a “leading animal rights activist” was tonight beginning a six-year prison sentence after admitting conspiracy to cause criminal damage to cars belonging to people with links to a controversial pharmaceutical testing firm.
Sarah Gisborne, 39, of Cranleigh, Surrey, caused nearly £40,000 worth of damage to eight cars parked outside five homes in Surrey, Hampshire and Cambridgeshire in night attacks in July 2004, Peterborough Crown Court heard.
She was also made the subject of a two-year anti-social behaviour order (Asbo) which will come into effect when she leaves prison.
In the UK, an Asbo is a civil order prohibiting anti-social behavior and/or entering an area for a specific length of time. Violations lead to criminal penalties. [It sounds to me like a kind of probation . . . ed.]
Prosecutors said cars had paint and graffiti sprayed on them, paint stripper poured over them, tyres stabbed and expanding foam sprayed into exhaust pipes.
One victim also had ALF (Animal Liberation Front) painted on her dining room window. Another received a threatening letter during the day before the attack.
Detectives said Gisborne was targeting Huntingdon Life Sciences, which is based in Huntingdon, Cambs, and which has been a focus for demonstrations by animal rights campaigners for many years because it uses animals for research work.
Police said they found a list of Huntingdon Life Sciences’ employees, including some e-mail addresses, telephone and fax numbers and postal addresses, hidden inside the leg of a TV stand in Gisborne’s lounge.
Gisborne was traced after a car she had hired was spotted near to the scene of one of the attacks in Cambridgeshire.
Richard Crowley, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Cambridgeshire, said: “This case is a good example of CPS and police co-operation, and involved detailed consultation before charge. It means that we get the correct charge from the start and the evidence is so strong that the defendant has little room to manoeuvre.
“We applied for an Anti-Social Behaviour Order, which was granted by the judge and will run for two years – the maximum time allowed – from the date of her release from prison, partly because we are determined to ensure that persons working in the pharmaceuticals industry are afforded as much protection as the law and the courts will allow.”
This is good news — it sounds like the Crown Prosecution and the constabulary really wanted to get this right, and did what it was necessary to do.
Assistant Chief Constable Anton Setchell, the National Co-ordinator for Domestic Extremism (NCDE) said: “The police service welcomes this significant sentence that sends a clear message to other potential extremists that they will be caught and convicted. The sentence will also provide reassurance to victims of animal rights extremism.
“The crimes committed by Sarah Gisborne caused great distress to the victims and this result shows that offences of this type will not be tolerated.
“This conviction has resulted from co-ordinated police work between Cambridgeshire Constabulary, Surrey Police and Hampshire Constabulary. It was a detailed and protracted investigation, using numerous detectives, forensic experts and search teams. Similar joint operations of this type, with regional and national collaboration between police forces, are ongoing.”
A spokeswoman for Cambridgeshire police added: “This woman is a leading animal rights activist and we are delighted with the outcome.”
As am I delighted with the outcome. And though it may just be bluster uttered in a moment of triumph, the rather self-confident assurance that similar joint operations are ongoing is reassuring to some of us, and, hopefully, not so reassuring to others of us.
In another article, we learn a few additional details:
[ . . . ]
Sarah Gisborne carried out a shocking campaign of hate against people linked to animal experiments, a court was told. She was caught after she was filmed carrying out an attack in St Ives by security cameras, which also identified the hire car she was using.
[ . . . ]
Gisborne, of Pond Crofts, Yatley, Hampshire, admitted conspiracy to cause criminal damage.
Judge Nicholas Coleman said: "It seems to me a deterrent sentence is required."
He said statements from victims of the attacks made "chilling" reading.
[ . . . ]
Angela Rafferty, prosecuting, said: "This was a well-planned and efficient set of actions carried out with almost military precision."
She told the court attacks were aimed at people linked to organisations which Gisborne disapproved of as an animal rights campaigner involved with the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) pressure group.
SHAC! Who would ever guess!
Miss Rafferty said Gisborne, then living in Surrey, hired a car and on July 15 carried out three attacks on vehicles at homes in Surrey and Hampshire.
The following night she went to Chaucer Road, Cambridge, where she attacked a Saab and a BMW belonging to friends of the householder who had spoken at a meeting in the city. Both cars were written off.
[ . . . ]
Miss Rafferty said the family was targeted for more than four years by animal rights activists. [My emphasis . . . ed.]
[ . . . ]
Gisborne has nine previous convictions and has served two prison terms, one for an attack on the home of the brother of HLS boss Brian Cass.
Timothy Greene, for Gisborne, said: "She very strongly believes it is wrong for human beings to cause suffering to animals, however good the motives."
Gisborne sounds incorrigible to me. She is a true believer, a Holy Warrior, of the first order.
She will follow the dictates of her conscience to the ends of the earth because her conscience is infallible . . .
In a world where it has become axiomatic that a clear conscience bestows on an individual a lofty morality independent of any acts undertaken, it is wise to keep in mind that one's conscience can lead one astray, and simply following one's conscience is not necessarily of greater moral purity than not following it.
Indeed, history overflows with both heros and villains who were sincere, and who did their deeds with clear consciences.
Thanks to David S.