Eco-zealot, 29, who quit his job as an EasyJet pilot is fined £200

Eco-zealot, 29, who quit his job as an EasyJet pilot due to his climate change views and sat with Just Stop Oil activists outside Harrods to cause traffic chaos is fined £200

  • George Hibberd, 29, quit his job at the airline to join JSO activists in London
  • Hibberd was among six protestors who were fined for obstructing the road 
  • He told Westminster Magistrates’ Court he had been diagnosed with eco-anxiety

A former EasyJet pilot who quit his job to join Just Stop Oil protestors in bringing London’s streets to a grinding halt was fined £200 at court today.

George Hibberd, 29, left the airline to join a group of a dozen activists who glued themselves to the road and sprayed orange paint on the front of the world famous  Harrods store in Knightsbridge in October.

Giving evidence on Tuesday, Hibberd told Westminster Magistrates’ Court he left his dream job as a pilot because he felt frustrated about the airline’s unwillingness to tackle climate change. 

The activist, who told the court he had been diagnosed with eco-anxiety, said: ‘I tried to change the industry from the inside. This put me in direct opposition with industry leaders and even union leaders.

‘I had to decide whether to bury my head in the sand or to leave my childhood dream job. I chose the latter.’

Former EasyJet pilot George Hibberd, 29, who quit his job to join Just Stop Oil’s protestors in bringing London’s streets to a grinding halt was fined £200

A group of a dozen JSO activists glued themselves to the road and sprayed orange paint on the front of the world-famous Harrods store in Knightsbridge last October

Asked how motorists reacted to the disruption Hibberd said: ‘I maybe saw one or two people who were visibly angry.’

Fellow protestor Selma Heimedinger, 23, of Southesea, told the court: ‘I love animals and nature. I am studying veterinary nursing because I care deeply about animals and life.

‘The action we took on Brompton Road was not violent. The protest was peaceful and orderly at all times.

‘Two months before we took action 10 million were displaced by flooding in Pakistan. Traffic being blocked for 60 minutes is not comparable to that. Blocking traffic is entirely proportionate.

‘The climate crisis is the most important issue of our time. It affects everything.

‘Harrods is currently owned by the state of Qatar. Qatar is one of the richest countries in the world. They gain their wealth from oil and gas reserves.’

Hibberd, of Chichester, West Sussex, along with Paul Bleach, 55, of Portsmouth, Hampshire, John Blewett, 56, of Dorking, Surrey, Katharine Chesterman, 57, of Hythe, Heimedinger, and Phillip Snider, 37, of Southampton, had all denied causing a public obstruction. 

However, the JSO protesters were all found guilty of obstructing the road outside Harrods and fined at court on Tuesday.

District Judge Daniel Sternberg rejected their defence over their own actions and said: ‘The obstruction resulted in travel congestion.

‘You were each spoken to by one police officer. You each decided to remain seated. The protest caused significant disruption.’

The incident marked the 20th consecutive day of action taken by JSO, who called on the Government to halt all new oil and gas licenses.

The court heard a lorry delivering emergency equipment to Guy’s Hospital was among those caught up in the congestion. 

‘I am not satisfied that any of the defendants had a lawful excuse per se,’ Judge Sternberg added.

‘This was plainly a breach of domestic law. The obstruction took place at a busy junction at the heart of central London.

‘It was targeted to cause maximum disruption. It was not a temporary or transitory disruption.’

Hibberd, Bleach and Blewett were each fined £200 while Heimedinger and Chesterman were both fined £250.

Snider earlier admitted obstruction and was given a 12 month conditional discharge.

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