No action taken against HS2 guard filmed kneeling on protester’s neck


No action will be taken against a HS2 guard who was filmed kneeling on a protester’s neck during an incident last year.

Peter and Linda Norbury, who are members of a wildlife group, filmed the incident at Fradley Woods HS2 work site, near Lichfield, after visiting to see the extent of deforestation being carried out.

The couple then witnessed a protester being restrained by security staff after allegedly firing objects – believed to be carrots – over the fence and into the work site.

Following an investigation, Staffordshire Police confirmed the guard who held the protester down with his knee will not be prosecuted.

A police spokesman told StaffordshireLive: “Officers attended Fradley, Lichfield, on November 15 following reports that a man had used a catapult to fire objects at staff working at the site.

“A 50-year-old man from Wolverhampton was arrested on suspicion of assault and possessing an offensive weapon. He received a conditional caution.

“Following the incident we received a complaint about how this man was restrained by security staff at the location.

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“A full investigation was undertaken in relation to the allegation. Having reviewed footage, interviewed staff and witnesses, a decision was made that no further action will be taken in relation to this incident.”

The Norburys, from Lichfield, were stunned no action will be taken against the guard.

Linda said: “I’m absolutely astonished no further action is being taken.

“It seemed to us to be unreasonable force, because the protester had a catapult, but no other weapon. There were about six or seven guards and the protester’s neck was knelt on for 10 to 15 minutes.

“The footage speaks for itself. I was shouting at them, ‘Why won’t you let him up? There are so many of you’.

“When he was firing things from his catapult, which we believed to be carrots, it wasn’t at people, but just over the fence. We saw him fire one object.



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“It seems to me the reaction to what he did was over the top, especially considering there were more of them (the guards) and he (the protester) wasn’t a particularly big guy. Why did they kneel on his neck? The catapult was on the ground next to him.

“A few motorists stopped and remonstrated as well. It was very, very upsetting and a thoroughly unpleasant experience.

“I couldn’t believe it was going on in the 21st century. I can’t describe how horrible it was.

“It was months after the George Floyd incident in America. It was distressing.”

A HS2 spokesman said: “The police have investigated this incident thoroughly and decided to take no further action.

“While activists continually make vexatious claims about the behaviour of our contractors, they also illegally trespass on our construction sites, endangering themselves, our workers and the general public, subject our hard-working employees to violent behaviour, and place unnecessary strain on the emergency services during the pandemic.”



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