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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 November 2005, 13:30 GMT
Prescott's wife 'in fear of life'
The rooftop protest
The protest took place during the election campaign
John Prescott's wife has told a court she was in fear of her life when Greenpeace activists climbed onto the roof of the family home in Hull.

Pauline Prescott, 65, told the city's magistrates her husband, the deputy prime minister, was away at the time.

Early on the morning in April she was awoken by a police guard and told she should lock herself in her bedroom.

Eight Greenpeace activists deny using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour.

They each deny another count of contravening a police direction.

'Absolutely terrified'

In court, Mrs Prescott said she asked the police officer: "Who are they? Are they terrorists? Are they going to come crashing through my windows?"'

Asked how she felt at this time, she replied: "Absolutely terrified. In fear of my life, quite frankly."

Mrs Prescott said it was 30 minutes after she was woken at 0615 BST on 26 April that she found out it was Greenpeace demonstrators who were on her roof.

Pauline Prescott
Pauline Prescott was woken up by a call from a police guard

She told the district judge it was her husband who rang her with this information.

The court heard how a large number of Greenpeace demonstrators climbed over the gate of Mr and Mrs Prescott's home in Salthouse Road, Hull, where they were confronted by two armed police officers, who drew their weapons.

But they put their weapons back in their holsters when the intruders told them they were from Greenpeace.

The protesters then put ladders up the sides of the house and eight of them climbed on to the two "turrets" on either side of the front of the building.

The court was told how, once there, the demonstrators erected solar panel units and unfurled two large banners which read: "Oi! Two Jags. Hit Targets, Not Voters."

Why should they target me like this?
Pauline Prescott

Mrs Prescott, a mother of three, told the court she stayed in her bedroom with her husband's secretary Delia Georgeson until the afternoon.

She said she came down only when she was assured by the police she was "quite safe".

Mrs Prescott became noticeably angry at times as she was cross-examined by Francis Fitzgibbon, defending.

She described how Mr Prescott once swam up the River Thames as part of a protest against nuclear dumping many years ago.

Looking directly at the defendants, she said angrily: "So why should they target me like this, target me in this way, which is exactly what you did?"

The defendants are: Martin Cotterill, 38, of Matterdale End, Penrith, Cumbria; Samuel Daniel, 33, of Tenterden Road, London; Catherine Dorey, 36, of Athenaeum Court, Highbury, north London; Laura Yates, 28, of Roseberry Road, London; Steven Scott, 34, of Church Street, Matlock, Derbyshire; Andrew Taylor, 36, of Cheltenham Road, Stroud, Gloucestershire; Victoria Thomas, 27, of Bryn Rhydd, Howey, Powys; and Sarah North, 36, of Ellingfort Road, London.

The trial continues.

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