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HS2: Protester given suspended prison sentence for woods demo

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image captionElliott Cuciurean arriving at the High Court in Birmingham earlier this year

An anti-HS2 protester who scaled machinery in an attempt to protect ancient woods has been given a six-month suspended jail sentence.

Elliott Cuciurean was found to have deliberately breached a court order by trespassing 12 times in April at Crackley Woods in Warwickshire.

A judge had been urged to fine him as the 22-year-old "did not know enough" about the injunction.

But Mr Justice Smith said a suspended sentence was "appropriate".

Video footage shown to Birmingham High Court in July showed Mr Cuciurean, also known as Jelly Tot, on top of a tree lopper and, in a separate incident, being removed from a tree via the use of a cherry picker at the woods near Kenilworth.

He was described as "a very active protester" and told the court he scaled the machinery because it "is going to continue cutting down trees so I will do what I can to stop it".

image captionSupporters of Elliott Cuciurean demonstrated outside the court in July

HS2 Ltd claimed Mr Cuciurean, from Cheltenham, breached an injunction on an area of land within an 8km (4.9-mile) perimeter at the Crackley Woods construction site.

During the sentencing hearing, Mr Cuciurean's barrister argued the protester only made his way into the injunction area "by a few feet".

The judge ruled earlier this week he had persistently breached the injunction, including one case on 4 April when he was restrained, arrested and then "de-arrested" when it became clear police would not attend.

Mr Justice Smith said: "It seems to me he will abide by any conditions imposed by this court."

But he warned him any further breaches over the next 12 months would see him sent to jail alongside potential extra punishment for the next breach.

HS2 Ltd said it welcomed the court's decision.

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Related Topics

  • Cheltenham
  • Environment
  • Kenilworth
  • HS2
  • Extinction Rebellion

More on this story

  • Campaigner 'scaled machinery' to protect HS2 woods