The Fantastic 5

IssueJuly - August 2007
News by David Polden

All the “Fairford Five” cases have now been concluded, with three acquittals and two convictions after six trials and heroic legal efforts by all five peace activists who took direct action against the Iraq war at the US airbase near Fairford, Gloucestershire.

On 30 May, Josh Richards was formally acquitted in a retrial by the Judge at Bristol Crown Court of “attempted arson” to a US B52 bomber at Fairford in March 2003, after the jury failed to reach a verdict, even a majority one. When arrested, Josh was reportedly heading towards the B52s with a can of fuel and a box of matches, in order to set fire to the planes.

As reported in PN last month, on 22 May Phil Pritchard and Toby Olditch were found not guilty of conspiring to commit criminal damage at Fairford in March 2003, in this case by entering the base carrying paint, nuts and bolts, and pliers planning to disable B52s to be used for bombing Iraq.

Awaiting sentence

The most recent result came on 6 July, when Margaret Jones and Paul Milling, who used hammers and bolt cutters to disable fuel tankers and trailers used for carrying bombs at the airbase, were found guilty of “conspiring to commit criminal damage”.

The judge at Bristol Crown Court gave Paul Milling a conditional discharge and ordered him to pay #250 court costs. Margaret Jones is awaiting sentencing at the court on 27 July.