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Mum's anger at £40 fine for nudging M25 Insulate Britain protester with Range Rover

NewsMum's anger at £40 fine for nudging M25 Insulate Britain protester with Range Rover

Sherrilyn Speid, 35, was on the school run when Insulate Britain protesters sat down in the middle of the road and refused to move. She pleaded: “My son is 11 and needs to get to school. I need to get to work.” But her words fell on deaf ears.

In desperation, she gently moved the car forward and the bumper pressed briefly against activist Bethany Mogie who was unhurt.

Mental health worker Ms Speid admitted dangerous driving at an earlier hearing and was sentenced today. A charge of assaulting Ms Mogie, 39, was dropped.

She was fined £40 and banned from the road for a year. Prosecutors demanded £310 costs but magistrates reduced the figure to £105 plus a £95 victim surcharge.

The encounter between Ms Speid and Ms Mogie Grays, Essex, last October, was recorded on a mobile phone and the footage was widely shared on the internet.

It happened during a wave of road blockades by Insulate Britain aimed at causing widespread disruption to motorists.

Speaking after the case, Ms Speid said: “I shouldn’t have been here today, sorry but I’m just a working mum who was trying to get my boy to school that morning.

“I wanted to get him to school and I had to get to work. I’m self employed – if I don’t get to work, I don’t get paid.

“It was a stressful time. I needed to get to where I needed to go.

“I did ask them nicely loads of times and they didn’t.”

Ms Speid revealed how people still stop her in the street to praise her for her actions on the day, with some even asking for selfies.

She added: “It was nice to get the support. When people heard more about me and the work I do, they knew I supported a lot of people.

“The protesters didn’t support the court case, I’ve been told.

“I was even told the protester was willing to come to court to give evidence saying she was not hurt and did not receive any medical attention.

“It’s the police that have pushed this. They are really going for this.

“They are definitely trying to make an example out of me because it was high profile and because I got fame from it.

“They see me as a threat as a lot of people are listening to me. But I did not ask for the attention.

“It was a nudge – just to get them to move. There are a lot of examples of far worse driving where people don’t get treated like this.

“I think it’s double standards. We all called the police and they did not come.”

Ms Mogie and another female protester had blocked the road near the M25 orbital motorway when Ms Speid drove up, Basildon Magistrates Court, Essex, was told.

Bystanders were shouting aggressively at the two women activists to move off the road but to no avail.

Magistrates were shown a video of the incident and Ms Speid could be heard begging, “My son needs to get to school.”

Ashley Petchey, prosecuting, said she slightly drove the black Range Rover forward three times while “angry and agitated.”

On the first two occasions, the car stops close to the protesters. Ms Mogie is then “nudged” by the car, the court heard.

“It is not an excessive speed as the driver was using the brakes quite harshly as you saw,” Mr Petchey said.

“Clearly this was an incident where there was a risk, even if no injury was caused.”

Just days before the incident, Ms Speid fled the family home after 12 years due to domestic violence, said Lauren Hebditch, defending.

“She was feeling numb and disassociated with her physical health,” Ms Hebditch said.

“She was angry, scared and petrified. She had finally found confidence that week to leave that relationship”

Ms Speid wept as the court heard details of the breakdown of her relationship

“She asks the protestors multiple times for the protestors to move out of the way. She can be heard pleading with them.,” Ms Hebdicth added.

Ms Speid is now helping young people, providing counselling as well as setting up support groups for mental health for adults.

“She was going to counsel young people on the day this happened,” her lawyer said.

“She is inspiring to everyone she meets. She is mortified though. She can’t believe it was her. The protestors don’t support this.

“She accepts it was dangerous driving and shouldn’t have acted the way she did.”

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