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Last Updated: Monday, 11 August, 2003, 16:57 GMT 17:57 UK
Ex-priest admits Grand Prix invasion
Protestor tackled
Horan was tackled to the ground
A 56-year-old former priest admitted getting on to the track and trying to disrupt the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Cornelius "Neil" Horan pleaded guilty to a single charge of aggravated trespass at the Silverstone circuit when he appeared via video-link at Northampton Magistrates Court.

The case was adjourned until 1 September for the preparation of pre-sentence reports.

There was no application for bail and Horan, from Howbury Road, Nunhead, south-east London, was remanded in custody.

The charges relate to an incident during the race at the Northamptonshire circuit on Sunday 20 July, won by the Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello.

Deliberate actions

A television audience of millions world-wide watched as Horan breached security and faced down cars wearing a tam o'shanter and kilt and carrying religious-themed placards.

The protest took place on the fastest part of the course, the Hangar Straight, where cars can reach up to 200mph.

Several drivers had to swerve to avoid him and the safety car had to be deployed to protect participants.

Horan, who is originally from County Kerry in the Irish Republic, was eventually wrestled to the ground, arrested and taken for questioning.

Silverstone protest
Speeding drivers swerved to avoid Horan

Opposing an application for bail at Horan's first appearance in court on 21 July, Suraj Minocha said Horan's actions put not only himself at risk but the drivers, marshals and the public.

He said it was "very clear" his actions were deliberate: he bought his ticket in advance, was carrying a change of clothing and placards and was fully aware of Formula One racing.

Horan's actions were designed to promote his religious beliefs and he told police he acted because his previous attempts to get his views aired in the Press and via politicians had failed, he added.

Paul Carter, defending, told the bench his client was an "eccentric" who had been treated for depression for a number of years and was on incapacity benefit.

He was a man of strong moral views and had been "on sabbatical" from the Roman Catholic priesthood for nine years.




SEE ALSO:
Grand Prix protester arrested
20 Jul 03  |  Northamptonshire
Silverstone joy for Barrichello
20 Jul 03  |  Formula One


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