Just Stop Oil protesters jailed for scaling Dartford Crossing bridge

Just Stop Oil protesters who scaled a bridge over the Dartford Crossing causing 40 HOURS of gridlock are jailed for five years

  • Morgan Trowland and Marcus Decker scaled the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge 
  • Their actions forced police to close the road which links Essex and Kent

Two Just Stop Oil protesters who scaled a bridge over the Dartford Crossing, causing more than a day of gridlock, have been locked behind bars.

Morgan Trowland, 40, and Marcus Decker, 36, blocked one of the busiest stretches of road in the country for 40 hours in their climate protest on October 17, last year.

The pair hoisted a banner between two pillars of the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge, which links the M25 in Essex and Kent, and slept in hammocks in freezing temperatures overnight.

The road beneath was closed by police for fears over their safety, causing traffic chaos – they were eventually arrested after coming down the following day.

Today at Southend Crown Court Trowland and Decker were jailed for three years, and two years and seven months, respectively after being found guilty of causing a public nuisance.

Morgan Trowland and Marcus Decker scaled a bridge over the Dartford Crossing in October last year

The pair’s actions caused more than a day of gridlock (pictured) as police were forced to divert traffic through the Dartford Tunnel as they closed the road on the bridge

Passing sentence today, judge Shane Collery KC said locking the pair up would hopefully deter anyone else from taking part in similar demonstrations.

READ MORE HERE:  Moment Just Stop Oil eco zealot sings protest song to police as he and fellow activist are hauled off Dartford Crossing bridge and arrested


‘You have to be punished for the chaos you caused and to deter others from copying you,’ he said. 

The judge said that Trowland, who has six previous convictions relating to protests, had a ‘leading role’, while Decker had one previous conviction relating to a protest. 

The judge said that the pair ‘plainly believed you knew better than everyone else’, adding: ‘In short, to hell with everyone else.’ 

‘By your actions you caused this very important road to be closed for 40 hours,’ the judge said, noting that the disruption affected ‘many tens of thousands, some very significantly’.

Prosecutor Adam King said the bridge was closed from 4am on October 17 last year to 9pm the following day, with jams as traffic was forced to use the tunnels instead.

Both defendants were found guilty by unanimous verdicts of causing a public nuisance, following an earlier trial at Basildon Crown Court.

The pair had been in custody since they were remanded at their first appearance at magistrates’ court some six months ago, on October 20 in Southend.

Prosecutor Mr King said that the protesters ascended to a point close to 200ft above the road and unfurled a ‘giant Just Stop Oil banner’ and ‘rigged up hammocks and stayed there’.

‘This closure caused gridlock for miles around throughout that period, which we say was the point,’ said Mr King.

Morgan Trowland, pictured here on the bridge, was jailed for three years at Southend Crown Court today

Marcus Decker, pictured here in a hammock on the bridge, was jailed for two years and seven months for his role in the protest

He said the men came down at about 5.30pm on October 18 ‘with the help of police and a very tall cherry picker crane’, but the bridge was not reopened to traffic until later.

READ MORE HERE: Eco-protester begs for cash saying police damaged his house after he ‘climbed QEII bridge and caused traffic chaos’ 

Trowland, of Islington, north London, and Decker, 34, of no fixed address, had denied causing a public nuisance, arguing that it was a protest.

Essex Police said that those impacted by the traffic disruption included a ‘heavily pregnant woman who needed urgent medical help’.

Another person missed the funeral of their best friend of 35 years, the force said, and a business lost more than £160,000 in earnings.

Jacob Bindman, for Trowland, said: ‘He’s able to say this protest, and his experience of having spent time in prison, largely represents the end of his involvement in this kind of activity.

‘He doesn’t intend to undertake any large-scale disruptive protests in the future.’

He said that structural engineer Trowland had ‘in his words done his bit’ and ‘he doesn’t want to spend the rest of his days going in and out of prison’.

Rebecca Martin, for Decker, said that the protest ‘wasn’t his idea’ and that the ‘expert in climbing’ was not part of the initial planning process.

She said that both private tutor Decker, who is a German citizen with two degrees, and his co-defendant were ‘trying to act for the greater good in the long term’.

Ms Martin said Decker would also not take part in further disruptive protests.

But the judge said he saw ‘no signs’ the defendants were ‘any less committed to the causes you espouse than before’.

More to follow… 

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