Home » Just Stop Oil: Three protesters guilty after disrupting Wimbledon tennis matches

Just Stop Oil: Three protesters guilty after disrupting Wimbledon tennis matches

Three Just Stop Oil protesters have been found guilty of aggravated trespass after disrupting Wimbledon tennis matches by throwing confetti and puzzle pieces.

Deborah Wilde, 69, Simon Milner-Edwards, 67, and William Ward, 66, were convicted at City of London Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

Wilde, a retired teacher, and Ward, a retired civil engineer, were each given a six-month conditional discharge, meaning they will not be punished further unless they commit a further offence during their probation period.

Milner-Edwards, a retired musician, was handed an 18-month conditional discharge.

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William Ward throws confetti onto Court 18. Pic: PA

The court was told Wilde and Milner-Edwards entered Court 18 at around 2.10pm on 5 July last year, during a match between Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov and Japan’s Sho Shimabukuro.

The pair threw “around 1,000” puzzle pieces from a Wimbledon-themed jigsaw set and pieces of confetti, according to Michelle Dite, operations director at the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), who gave evidence at the trial.

A Just Stop Oil protester is carried off court 18 after throwing confetti on to the grass during Katie Boulter�s first-round match against Daria Saville on day three of the 2023 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon. Picture date: Wednesday July 5, 2023.
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Ward is dragged off the court. Pic: PA

About an hour later Ward entered the same court wearing a Just Stop Oil T-shirt and threw more confetti onto the grass, halting a match between Britain’s Katie Boulter and Australia’s Daria Saville.

Boulter helped Wimbledon staff clear up the mess after play was suspended, the court heard.

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The trio had accepted they had climbed over a barrier and threw the items over the court, but denied that the protest amounted to aggravated trespass.

A Just Stop Oil protester runs onto Court 18 and releases confetti on day three of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, Wednesday, July 5, 2023. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
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Deborah Wilde throws puzzles pieces from a jigsaw box with a photo of Wimbledon’s Centre Court on the front. Pic: AP

FILE - A Just Stop Oil protester sits on Court 18 on day three of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, July 5, 2023. Climate activists have spraypainted a superyacht, blocked private jets from taking off and plugged holes in golf courses this summer as part of an intensifying campaign against the emissions-spewing lifestyles of the ultrawealthy. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)
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Simon Milner-Edwards sits on the court. Pic: AP

The judge ruled on Monday that although the protesters waited until a break in play, “each of them intended to cause disruption to the tennis and as a result they did cause some disruption on that day”.

He went on to thank each of the defendants for “the way they’ve conducted themselves,” and added: “All of you will have been very stressed.”

Ground staff clear confetti from court 18 after a Just Stop Oil protester invaded the court on day three of the 2023 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon. Picture date: Wednesday July 5, 2023.
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Pic: PA

That year the AELTC – which runs the competition – spent “hundreds of thousands of pounds” to manage potential protests after Just Stop Oil demonstrated at the World Snooker Championships and Ashes Test at Lord’s Cricket Ground, Miss Dite said.

She said Court 18 is a show court, where many top seeds play in front of “a few hundred” people and there is extensive video coverage.