Mum gets driving ban and £40 fine for 'nudging' eco-protester with Range Rover

6 May 2022, 12:17 | Updated: 6 May 2022, 15:19

insulate britain
Mum gets driving ban and £40 fine for 'nudging' eco-protester with Range Rover. Picture: Alamy

By Liam Gould

A woman has been banned from driving for twelve months after using her Range Rover to 'nudge' Insulate Britain protesters who were blocking the road while she was on the school run.

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Sherrilyn Speid, from Grays, Essex, pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to dangerous driving over the incident last October.

The 35-year-old, who appeared for sentencing at Basildon Magistrates' Court on Friday, was disqualified from driving for a year, handed a community order and ordered to pay a total of £240.

Speid was disqualified from driving for 12 months until March 28 2023 - following an interim ban she received at the previous hearing on March 28.

She was also told that she will have to retake her test.

The court heard Speid was driving her black Range Rover Sport during the school run when a group of Insulate Britain protesters had glued themselves to the road.

The incident happened at around 8:30pm on October 13.

Read More: Mum who 'nudged' Insulate Britain protester with 4x4 says conviction is 'huge injustice'

Prosecutor Ashley Petchey said three demonstrators were sitting across the road and queues of traffic had built up behind them.

Video footage shows Speid getting out of the Range Rover and confronting the protesters. The clip of the confrontation went viral online at the time of the incident.

She can be heard saying: "I don't care what the issue is. My son is 11, he needs to get to school today so move out the way and let me get my son to school."

In a separate clip, the car could be seen jerking forward into the backs of protesters sitting on the road in an attempt to 'nudge' the protesters.

Mr Petchey said Speid, who was sobbing throughout the hearing, was "clearly very angry and agitated by the situation".

He said: "She knew the protesters were there and had even remonstrated with them but nevertheless chose to move into them with her vehicle."

The prosecutor also played a clip to the court of an interview Speid did with LBC the day after she pleaded guilty on March 28.

Read More: Mum banned from driving after admitting 'nudging' Insulate Britain protester with 4x4

Read More: Woman who 'nudged' Insulate Britain protester with 4X4 charged with assault

Speaking exclusively to LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, she said she was "frustrated" as she "just wanted to get her son to school".

"They were stopping me from getting where I needed to be," she told Nick. "I accepted that I could have handled it better, however I was very frustrated.

"I was under a lot of pressure as a single mum, I run my own business, and things have been difficult anyway through the pandemic and so on."It was just important for me to get my son to school and get to work."

Speid also told Nick that she felt "let down" by the police following the incident.

"I feel devastated and I feel let down," she said.

"I've got no previous convictions, I've worked hard my whole life and I literally just wanted to get my son to school."

Lauren Hebditch, defending, told the court that Speid was an "inspiring" woman who was "under severe pressure and stress" that week, having just left an abusive relationship of 12 years.

Ms Hebditch said her client had just moved into a new home after staying in a safe house and was taking new medication prescribed for her mental health.

She said: "She had had to flee her family home due to domestic violence she had suffered for 12 years.

"She was suffering from severe anxiety and depression which led her to having panic attacks at work.

Ms Hebditch added that the footage clearly showed Speid was "anxious" and "stressed".

The court heard that Speid had been in and out of care during her childhood but has channelled her experience into setting up a counselling service for vulnerable children, a WhatsApp group for mental health, and a podcast for working mothers.

"She is inspiring to everyone she meets despite the abusive childhood and adulthood," Ms Hebditch said.

"She accepts her actions - she cannot watch the footage, she cannot bear it.

The court also heard that one of the protesters had written to the court saying they did not support the prosecution and did not want proceedings to continue.

Ms Hebditch said the driving ban will mean Speid can no longer shop for her mother, who has multiple sclerosis, drive to work, or drop off her son at school or football.

Chairman of the bench Susan Hawkins handed Speid a community order for 12 months, which includes 20 days of rehabilitation activity.

"We do feel it is serious enough for us to do that," she said.

But, Speid will have to pay a total £240 for the incident - a £40 fine, £95 victim surcharge and £105 in costs.

She was also told that she will have to retake her test.