Six Just Stop Oil supporters who smashed petrol pumps at Cobham services receive suspended sentences

Six Just Stop Oil supporters who were found guilty of criminal damage for smashing petrol pumps at Cobham services on the M25 last year, received suspended sentences at Lewes Crown Court today. [1]. 

The six supporters: Stephanie Golder from London, Louise Harris from Harpenden, Sean Irish from London, Peter Lay from Hampshire, Louis McKechnie from Manchester and Bethany Mogie from St Albans, appeared before Judge Stephen Mooney after having pleaded guilty to committing criminal damage at Cobham service station on 28th April 2022 [2]

The six were given sentences of between 6 months and 17 months suspended for 18 months, 200 hours community service and costs of £526. Louis McKechnie and Bethanie Mogie received the longest suspended sentences of 17 months and 15 months respectively [3]

In his mitigation statement to the court Louis McKechnie said:

“In school I was taught about the Suffragettes, and I was taught about the Nazis. The suffragettes employed the same tactics we do and were punished harshly for it, but due to their efforts and their valuing ethics over the laws of the times, they made this country a better place for generations to come”.

Xavier Gonzalez-Trimmer who took part in the action died in February of this year, in the run up to the original trial date. Louis McKechnie read out a tribute to his friend as part of his mitigation statement.

Passing sentence today Judge Stephen Mooney said that “it was always my intention to have regard for the motivations [behind the actions]” however, he indicated that if the defendants had pleaded not guilty and then been found guilty at trial he would have been obliged to imprison them. The Judge said that he was less concerned about the potential damage to Shell’s profits and more with the inconvenience caused to the general public, but declined to impose compensation orders as he said that the defendants would not be able to pay.

A spokesperson for Just Stop Oil said

“More and more ordinary people understand what those involved in our judicial system do not and that is that no-one is safe from the consequences of runaway global heating. You might feel immune from extreme heat waves and mass crop failure, but in the end we will all see our children starve and have to face riots and war. 

“Why, then, is the legal system aiding and abetting our criminal government in persecuting ordinary people trying to protect humanity when we should all be working together to deal with the impacts of climate breakdown and societal collapse?

Our leaders cannot continue to ignore and exacerbate this crisis by encouraging new oil and gas, while floods and fires consume everything we hold dear. In November, we are calling for daily marches in London until the government comes to its senses and stops new oil and gas. Just Stop Oil is calling on everyone to join us in civil resistance. Sign up for action here:


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Notes to Editors

[1] Just Stop Oil is a coalition of groups working together to demand that the government immediately halt all future licensing and consents for the exploration, development and production of fossil fuels in the UK. Just Stop Oil is a member of the A22 Network of civil resistance projects. Climate Emergency Fund is Just Stop Oil’s primary funder for recruitment, training, and capacity building.

Just Stop Oil ‘Blue Lights’ policy: our policy is, and has always been, to move out of the way for emergency vehicles with siren sounding and ‘blue lights’ on.

[2] Action at Cobham and Clacket Lane services on 28th April 2022: