A Plane Stupid protester found guilty of aggravated trespass and entering a security restricted area of Heathrow Airport says jail is a "small price to pay" for fighting climate change.
Danielle Paffard was one of a group of 13 campaigners who caused 25 flight cancellations after breaking in to Heathrow Airport 's north runway.
The seven men and six women, including four from Sipson, West Drayton, cut a hole in a fence and chained themselves to railings on the north runway, beginning at around 3.30am on July 13 2015.
As the verdict was read out at Willesden Magistrates' Court on Monday (January 25), one defendant shouted: "This is a farce!", as other gasped in disbelief.
District Judge Wright has told defendants they can expect jail sentences for their actions.
'I'll be thinking of them from my prison cell'
Speaking after the verdicts, Ms Paffard, told getwestlondon she was "disappointed" but still stands by her actions.
She said: "It's another sign that the legal system isn't able to properly deal with the risks posed by all of us by climate change and air pollution.
"When we've got hundreds of thousands of people all around the world dying of climate change and air pollution it's shocking how much the government has failed and how much we need more ordinary people to be standing up for themselves on this issue and I think that's what we did.
"We stand by our actions."
The 28-year-old maintains their actions were "absolutely" reasonable and thinks prison is a small price to pay for climate change.
When asked was it worth going to jail for, Ms Paffard joked 'ask me in six months'.
She continued: "I think it's a small price to pay compared to the impact of climate change that will be felt round the world that have died as a result of climate change and losing their homes – I'll be thinking of them from my prison cell.
Judge Wright remarked before giving out the verdict she hoped the court was not used as a "political platform" after showing frustration and even halting evidence during the trial.
Ms Paffard said: "I disagree with what she said.
"I know that my actions were and always were entirely motivated by helping people and saving lives around the world. That is absolutely why I acted – if I didn't think it was going to make a difference I wouldn't have done it."
Protest caused six hours of disruption
During their three-day trial at Willesden Magistrates' Court, defendants told of how they carried out the pre-planned action in order to 'save lives', using the defence of necessity.
Police were called at around 3:45am on July 13 2015 to reports of suspicious activity at a perimeter fence, separating the airside operational part of the airport with the public road.
Police found the fence cut and several bolt-cutters discarded at the scene and then searched and found the 13 protesters at the eastern end of the north runway.
They had built a tripod out of scaffolding poles and surrounded themselves with six-foot-high metal fencing. The protesters had then locked themselves onto the structure or in pairs with arm locks filled with expanding quick set foam.
The design of the structure and 'lock-ons' meant that neither the metalwork nor the protesters could easily be moved.
The protesters were arrested in situ and specialist officers then called in to safely remove them.
A number of items were seized, including superglue, locks, chains and pieces of steel pipe.
The northern runway was finally cleared for full operational use at six hours later at 10am later that morning.
The protesters claimed their actions were necessary and reasonable in order to reduce carbon emissions and halt climate change.
Breaking the law 'not the most serious issue to hand'
The court previously heard how Graham Edward James Thompson, 42, of Durlston Road, Hackney and a press officer for Greenpeace, explained that he was “compelled by his conscience” to take action that day.
Mr McGhee, prosecuting, said: “Why do you feel that your conscience entitles you to break the law?”
To which Mr Thompson replied: “In the context of this situation, breaking the law was not the most serious issue at hand.”
Superintendent Andy Jones, from the Met's Aviation Policing, said: "While it is the role of the police to facilitate peaceful protest it is also our role to uphold the law and to allow businesses and the public to go about their lawful business.
"When protesters encroach into the airside environment they not only cause major disruption but also significant danger to themselves and aircraft.
"These convictions send out a clear message that such behaviour will not be tolerated.
"I appreciate that airport expansion will trigger protest but I would urge those considering such action, to do so peacefully and within the bounds of the law."
The 13 defendants all pleaded not guilty at Uxbridge Magistrates Court on August 19 2015.
The verdict was given by District Judge Wright to a packed courtroom on Monday, and sentencing takes place on February 24 at the same court.
Found guilty were:
- Rebecca Holly Sanderson, 28 (10.01.88) of Newton Road, Machynlleth, Powys;
- Melanie Strickland, 32 (17.02.83) of Borwick Avenue, Waltham Forest, E17;
- Richard Steven Hawkins, 32 (29.01.83) of Heol y Doll, Machynlleth, Powys;
- Ella Gilbert, 23 (16.07.92) of Magdalen Street, Norwich, Norfolk;
- Danielle Louise Paffard, 28 (25.02.87) of Blenhiem Grove, Southwark, SE15;
- Graham Edward James Thompson, 42 (27.09.73) of Durlston Road, Hackney, E5;
- Robert Anthony Basto, 68 (13.09.47) of Blackborough Road, Reigate, Surrey;
- Kara Lauren Moses, 33 (25.10.83) of Heol y Doll, Machynlleth, Powys;
- Cameron Joseph Kaye, 23 (11.02.92) of Kenwood Close, Sipson, West Drayton;
- Edward Thacker, 26 (24.06.89) of Kenwood Close, Sipson, West Drayton;
- Alistair Craig Tamlit, 27 (16.05.88) of Kenwood Close, Sipson, West Drayton;
- Sheila Menon, 44 (22.10.71) of Pellerin Road, Hackney, N16;
- Sam Sender, 23 (25.01.92) of Kenwood Close, Sipson, West Drayton.