Preston grandmother acquitted over £500,000 Extinction Rebellion damage to HSBC windows - and was dressed by Stella McCartney
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Susan Reid, a 65-year-old former community worker, was one of nine women who broke the windows of HSBC’s headquarters in London in a protest over the bank being Europe’s second largest investor in fossil fuels.
The women – part of protest group Extinction Rebellion –admitted using hammers and chisels to break windows in the morning of April 22, 2021, but denied this was criminal conduct.
They were found not guilty of criminal damage yesterday (November 16) by jury at Southwark Crown Court, who deliberated for two hours.
British fashion designer Stella McCartney dressed the nine women for court, lending them shirts, blazers and suits to wear during the trial.
Three week trial
The verdict came after a three week trial, where the damage caused by the nine women was set against the £80 billion of fossil fuels investments by HSBC in the five years following the Paris Climate Agreement, when over 195 nations pledged to keep global temperatures below 1.5 degrees.
According to the group, the jury made several requests for further information, including for an explanation of the Paris Climate Agreement, information on what the British Government has done to address the climate crisis and an explanation of how HSBC was able to come up with the estimated cost of the damage to the windows within hours of the action.
Why did Susan do it?
Following the verdict Susan Reid said: “I have said from the beginning that I did this to stop HSBC from killing children.
"Unicef estimated that over 20,000 children are displaced each day, and that climate change is the key driver. That means over the course of our three week trial over twenty thousand children have had to pick up the things around them and leave, none of those children will be able to go home at the end of the day.
"I have spent my life caring for the people around me and I refused to stand by while HSBC poured money into the very thing we know is causing unimaginable harm – the jury’s verdict today shows that ordinary people will not give their consent to the destructive violence of investing in fossil fuels in 2023.”