Second man denies felling historic Sycamore Gap tree and causing over £600k damage to landmark

12 June 2024, 12:43 | Updated: 12 June 2024, 12:44

The second suspect in the trial has denied allegations against him.
The second suspect in the trial has denied allegations against him. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

The second suspect in the felling of the Sycamore Gap tree has denied all charges against him ahead of their trial later this year.

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The much-photographed tree, which stood next to Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland for 200 years, was chopped down in September last year, causing a national outrage.

Adam Carruthers, 31, from Cumbria, appeared at Newcastle Crown Court on Wednesday where he denied causing £622,191 worth of damage to the historic tree.

He also denied causing £1,144 worth of damage to Hadrian’s Wall, a Unesco World Heritage Site, which was hit by the tree when it was felled overnight on September 28 2023.

Co-accused Daniel Graham, 38, from Carlisle, did not attend the hearing as he was "unavoidably detained", his barrister Christopher Knox said.

Graham had previously attended a hearing at magistrates’ court where he denied the same allegations.

Judge Paul Sloan KC set a trial date of December 3 and granted Carruthers and Graham conditional bail in the meantime.

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Carruthers denied the allegations at court on Wednesday.
Carruthers denied the allegations at court on Wednesday. Picture: Alamy

He said: “I am adjourning your case to trial. As you've heard the trial is now fixed and will commence on December 3 of this year.”

He set a case management hearing for August 27.

The value of the damage caused to the tree was calculated by the CAVAT tool, which stands for Capital Asset Value for Amenity Trees, a hearing previously heard.

The tool takes into consideration factors, such as the tree’s size, type and impact on the community.

Both Graham and Carruthers wore masks as they attended a previous court hearing.

It comes after it was announced last month that King Charles had been presented with the first seedling grown from seeds collected from the tree to plant in Windsor Great Park.

Once the seedling has matured into a sapling, Charles will have it planted in Windsor Great Park for visitors to enjoy as a symbol of the hope and beauty that can come from loss, the National Trust said.

In a social media post, Buckingham Palace said: "Part of the power of trees to move and console us lies in the continuity and hope they represent: the sense that, rooted in the past and flourishing in the present, their seeds will be carried into an as yet unimaginable future."

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