Page last updated at 14:21 GMT, Thursday, 22 May 2008 15:21 UK

Animal rights activist sentenced

Lab worker at Huntingdon Life Sciences
Jamieson wrote letters threatening to dig up the remains of buried people

An animal rights activist from Preston who sent threatening letters to suppliers of a research laboratory has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Diane Jamieson, 60, sent anonymous letters to suppliers of Huntingdon Life Sciences in Cambridgeshire threatening to dig up the bodies of dead relatives.

She admitted six counts of interference with contractual relationships so as to harm an animal research organisation.

She was sentenced to 51 weeks in jail on each count, suspended for two years.

'Hell and damnation'

Preston Crown Court was told that one supplier received a letter from her which said: "Stop dealing with Huntingdon Life Sciences or you could find the consequences of your actions pretty grim - having the remains of your loved ones removed never to be seen again. You have been warned."

In some letters Jamieson, of Wigan Road, Ashton, told the recipients that "hell and damnation" was waiting for them.

The court heard she sent a total of 44 letters after joining the group Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) three years ago.

She has lost the plot and she accepts that
Peter Turner, defence barrister

Prosecutor Roger Climie told the court that Jamieson, a former legal aid administrator, was passionate about animals and wanted to persuade people working for suppliers of Huntingdon Life Sciences to desist and find alternative work.

She was traced by police after forensic tests revealed that the anonymous threatening letters and legitimate, signed protest letters she sent to suppliers originated from the same person.

Defence Peter Turner said Jamieson had accepted at face value everything she learned from SHAC. He said: "She has lost the plot and she accepts that."

He said his client had spent 20 years legitimately campaigning for animal rights and donated 20 a week to animal charities.

On sentencing her Mr Justice Irwin said: "When you were writing threatening letters you made sure they were anonymous, that is not merely to protect yourself, but I have no doubt it served to make the threat more potent."


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