Hike sentence

Goodison Park protester sentenced to six weeks in jail after Everton incident against Newcastle

An Everton protester is jailed Credit: PA Images

A climate change activist who tied himself to a goal post during Everton’s game against Newcastle United has been sentenced to six weeks in prison.

Louis McKechnie, 21, denied aggravated trespassing and entering the playing area during the game at Goodison Park on March 17. But he was found guilty in a case that unfolded at South Sefton Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

He told the court he hoped his actions would help save lives. A metal zip tie was used to attach to a goal post by the neck.

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Sentencing him, District Judge Wendy Lloyd said, “I have no doubt from what you have told me that you are passionate about your cause. Not very passionate about football, apparently.

She said her actions were “reckless” and “potentially very dangerous”.

He was sentenced to six weeks in prison for aggravated trespassing, but the court heard he had already served that sentence, having been in custody since July.

Continuing Simon Jones said McKechnie entered the pitch at the end of the Gwladys Street pitch early in the second half of the game against Newcastle.

McKechnie, wearing an orange Just Stop Oil t-shirt, remained on the pitch for about 10 minutes as stewards tried to remove him, Mr Jones said.

Footage filmed for a YouTube video showed McKechnie walking down the grandstand steps and climbing over a gate to enter the pitch, as a fan shouted at him, “F*** off you blert.”

The court heard the game was extended by 14 minutes following the disruption and Everton scored the game’s only goal in the ninth minute of stoppage time.

PC Colin White, who arrested McKechnie after he was taken off the field, told the court a supporter tried to assault the activist.

He added: “At this time of the football season Everton were struggling, there was already a lot of frustration in the crowd.

“When Mr. McKechnie came onto the pitch and tied himself to the goal post, there was a lot of frustration, there was a lot of shouting, a lot of abuse and the occasional missile was launched down the pitch towards the aim.”

McKechnie told the court that Just Stop Oil was a civil resistance group that wanted government action to end the use of fossil fuels.

He said: “We came up with the idea of ​​how to bring the most attention to this name, Just Stop Oil, and of course in our time football is the biggest cultural phenomenon there is.”

The match he was aiming for was chosen because Everton were playing Newcastle – a football team sponsored by oil company Saudi Aramco, he told the court.

McKechnie added: “Hopefully public awareness will lead to public action that could actually, if we can get the government to listen to us, could actually save many lives.

“If it’s a chance to save a billion lives, it’s worth it no matter the odds.”

Laura O’Brien, defending, said McKechnie was responding to the climate emergency and what he believed to be a failure of democratic processes.

She said: “As the world watches this billion pound business that is Premier League football, which captivates people, it sends the message to them that we just have to stop the oil.”

The court heard McKechnie, who gave his address as HMP Altcourse, had a previous conviction for aggravated trespassing and willful obstruction of the freeway.

The protester was also fined £50, or one day’s detention, for entering the playing area, placed on a three-year football ban order and ordered to pay £500 for the prosecution costs.

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