Just Stop Oil eco zealots who invaded pitch during Ashes spared jail

Three Just Stop Oil protesters who invaded Lord’s pitch during the Ashes are spared jail: Eco-mob which threw orange powder across outfield before one was ‘taken out’ by Jonny Bairstow are given 60 hours of unpaid work

  • The eco-zealots’ stunt threatened to derail the Ashes test, a court heard today  

Three Just Stop Oil protesters who invaded the Lord’s pitch during the Ashes have today been spared jail for their eco stunt.

England cricketer Jonny Bairstow was credited with saving the showpiece test match when he ‘took out’ one of the trio heading for the wicket, the court was told.

The three eco-radicals threw orange powder across the outfield at the iconic north west London venue and one nearly made it to the wicket, before being tackled by wicketkeeper Bairstow.

If the powder had got on to the wicket the test would likely have been abandoned, leading to the loss of millions of pounds in revenue.

Bairstow grabbed 21-year-old Oxford University biochemistry student Daniel Knorr as he headed straight for the wicket, before carting him off the pitch. 

England cricketer Jonny Bairstow was credited with saving the showpiece test match when he ‘took out’ one of the trio, 21-year-old Oxford University biochemistry student Daniel Knorr heading for the wicket in June

Just Stop Oil eco-zealots have avoided prison for their stunt in June. Pictured, left to right, Jacob Bourne, Judit Murray, a 69-year-old grandmother from West Ewell, Surrey, and 21-year-old Oxford University biochemistry student Daniel Knorr outside court on September 28

Nick Collins, head of security at Lord’s, told a trial last month the match, the second test of the series, would have had to have been abandoned had any damage occurred to the wicket.

READ MORE: Revealed: Just Stop Oil protester who spray-painted Oxford University was also carried off Lord’s cricket ground by Jonny Bairstow, got punched in a slow march and was caught with paint next to Dippy the diplodocus

Knorr was convicted by District Judge Neeta Minhas along with co-defendants Judit  Murray, a 69-year-old grandmother from West Ewell, Surrey, and 27-year-old Jacob Bourne, from Leeds, West Yorkshire, of one count of aggravated trespassing.

Each spoke at the beginning of the short sentencing hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court this morning to confirm their names, dates of birth and addresses.

Bourne was dressed in a large purple poncho, alongside Knorr in a black hoodie with a cartoon T-rex on it, and grandmother-of-seven Murray with long grey hair.

All three had denied the offence.

The judge had deferred the trio’s sentencing for a pre-sentence report to be prepared, focusing on applying a ‘deterrent’ to their sentence in order to prevent others from causing similar disruptions.

But today she handed each of the trio community orders and gave them 60 hours of unpaid work. 

She told the three eco-zealots that though they hadn’t intended to harm the pitch or have the game cancelled, their actions would have had an ‘unknown’ effect on the angry crowd, who may have been drinking and may have posed a threat to the safety of the protesters. 

A calm and collected Jonny Bairstow lifted Knorr clean off of his feet in June and carried him to the edge of the field, handing him over to waiting security

Judge Minhas told them: ‘Whilst you may not have intended harm, and you say you coordinated your actions to minimise any harm, and I accept there was no damage to the pitch, security officers or players, the difficulty you have is that it is such a public location where there are so many people who are very much enjoying the activity, who may have been drinking.

‘Your action will have an unknown effect to those in the crowd stand.

‘That makes it difficult to know how they will react and also causes difficulties for the security, who then have to try to control the crowd.

‘It also takes them away from the job they are supposed to be doing in ensuring your safety from the crowd.

‘I recall evidence from the security about items being thrown from the crowd.

‘So, whilst I accept the harm might not have been that great, the potential for harm was much greater.’

She handed each JSO protester a 12-month community order, with a requirement to complete 60 hours of unpaid work – despite a pre-sentence report suggesting that Knorr and Murray were not fit for unpaid work.

Referencing the footage of the protesters running onto the pitch at Lord’s, the Judge said she was satisfied they had sufficient levels of fitness to complete the community work.

Knorr (pictured here arriving at court in July following the Ashes stunt) was convicted of aggravated trespass, alongside two other eco-zealots

Each were also ordered to pay £440 in fines and costs, and banned from entering Lord’s Cricket Ground for one year.

The trio previously admitted they had targeted the Test match at the ‘Home of Cricket’ as they believe it will be one of the sports most adversely effected by the climate crisis.

Taking the stand during the trial at City of London Magistrates’ Court, environmental scientist Bourne even wildly claimed that it was ‘climate change’s fault’ that England didn’t win the series, as the weather had had ‘more of an impact’ on The Ashes than their protest.

Bourne and Knorr, wearing white Just Stop Oil T-shirts, climbed the perimeter fence and LED advertising boards to enter the field of play.

As Knorr approached the centre of the pitch, Bairstow, 34, wearing his wicket keeper’s gloves, tackled him to the ground before he reached the wicket.

Murray was tackled before she could get onto the pitch, whilst champagne corks and fruit were thrown at the protesters by cricket fans as they were escorted off the field.

Mitigating, defence lawyers for the trio said they had planned for the protest to cause as little harm and disruption to the match as possible, and argued they had purposely avoided the wicket.

Briefly outlining the trio’s charges, prosecutor Ann-Marie Morgan told the court: ‘All three defendants were convicted after trial.

‘On June 28, the defendants trespassed onto the field and threw an orange substance onto it.

‘They were removed from the ground and arrested by police.’

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