Shocking footage has been released of the moment Just Stop Oil protesters invaded the Silverstone track at the British Grand Prix. ‘Serious harm’ was narrowly avoided after a major crash red flagged the race in the first lap.
After a trial at Northampton Crown Court, the six protesters were found guilty of conspiring to cause a public nuisance. The crown court heard the group posed ‘an immediate risk of serious harm’ to Formula One drivers and race marshalls with cars potentially travelling in excess of 200mph.
Detective Sergeant Cory Wise of Northamptonshire Police said: “The actions of these six people could have had fatal consequences and had it not been for an incident at the beginning of the race which caused it to be red-flagged, they could have been facing cars going at speeds in excess of 200mph. They not only put their lives at risk but also those of the drivers, as well as the many marshals, volunteers and members of the public.”
Moments before the protesters were seen settling down in the middle of the track, a major incident involving Mercedes’ George Russell, and Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu forced the race to be stopped at turn one. Zhou was clipped by Russell’s Mercedes and sent hurtling upside down and snowballing over the barriers and into the catch fence.
Bethany Mogie, 40, David Baldwin, 47, Alasdair Gibson, 22, Emily Brocklebank, 24, Louis McKechnie, 22, and Joshua Smith, 29, walked onto the tarmac and sat down in the middle of the track armed with glue and intending to fix themselves to the floor. However, plans were thwarted after marshalls dragged the protesters away to be arrested by the assisting officers.
Northamptonshire Police said the group continued with their demonstration despite being issued a plea two days before, informing them a track invasion would be dangerous and potentially harmful.
Detective Sergeant Cory Wise said: “Protesting is of course everyone’s human right in this country and we clearly communicated to this group before race day that we were more than willing to work with them to facilitate something peaceful, that didn’t endanger people’s lives, however they chose not to listen.
“I am pleased therefore that all six were found guilty today by the jury,” he adds. “I hope this case shows the seriousness with which we take incidents like this and that anything that puts innocent members of the public at risk will not be tolerated.”
Alex Lacey, Operations Director at Silverstone said the organisation was “incredibly grateful” Northamptonshire Police secured the “successful convictions”. "Silverstone works incredibly closely with the force in the run-up to and staging of the British Grand Prix to ensure we deliver a safe and secure weekend,” she said.
“We will continue to maintain that close bond going forward into this year’s event and beyond.” The six members of Just Stop OIl are due to be sentenced at a later date.