Six-week jail sentence for climate change protestor who tied himself to goalpost during Newcastle United match against Everton

A climate change protestor who tied himself to a goalpost during Newcastle United’s game against Everton last season has been handed a six-week jail sentence.

Louis McKechnie, 21, denied aggravated trespass and going onto the playing area at the game at Goodison Park on March 17, but was found guilty at a trial at South Sefton Magistrates’ Court on Friday and given the sentence.

But the court heard he had already served that long in prison, having been in custody since July.

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McKechnie, who gave his address as HMP Altcourse, told the court he was hoping to save lives through his actions, which saw him use a metal-enforced zip tie to attach himself to the goalpost by his neck.

Sentencing him, District Judge Wendy Lloyd said: “I have no doubt from what you have told me that you’re passionate about your cause. Not very passionate about football, apparently.”

She said his actions were “reckless” and “potentially very dangerous”.

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Simon Jones, prosecuting, said McKechnie entered the pitch at the Gwladys Street end of the ground at the beginning of the second half.

He was wearing an orange Just Stop Oil T-shirt and was on the pitch for about 10 minutes while stewards attempted to remove him, Mr Jones said.

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Louis McKechnie tied himself to the goalpost during last season's Premier League match between Everton and Newcastle

The court heard the match was extended by 14 minutes following the disruption and Everton scored the only goal of the game in the ninth minute of stoppage time.

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PC Colin White, who arrested McKechnie after he was carried off the pitch, told the court one supporter attempted to assault the activist.

“At that time in the football season Everton were struggling so there was great frustration in the crowd already,” he said.

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“When Mr McKechnie went onto the pitch and attached himself to the goalpost there was a lot of frustration, there was a lot of shouting, a lot of abuse and the occasional missile was being thrown onto the pitch in the direction of the goal.”

McKechnie was tied to the goalpost for about ten minutes
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McKechnie told the court Just Stop Oil was a civil resistance group which wanted the Government to act to end the use of fossil fuels.

“We came up with the idea of how do we get the most eyes on that name, Just Stop Oil, and of course, in this day and age, football is the biggest cultural phenomenon there is,” he said

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He told the court the match was picked because Newcastle were sponsored by oil company Saudi Aramco.

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McKechnie is carried from the pitch by police

McKechnie added: “Hopefully, public awareness will bring public action which might actually, if we can get the Government to listen to us, might actually save a lot of lives.

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“If it’s a chance of saving a billion lives, it’s worth it no matter the odds.”

Laura O’Brien, defending, said McKechnie was responding to what he believed were failing democratic processes: “While the world watches this billion-pound enterprise that is Premier League football, which people are captivated by, he is taking the message to them that we need to Just Stop Oil.”

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The court heard McKechnie, had previous convictions for aggravated trespass and wilfully obstructing the highway.

He was also given a £50 fine, or one day in detention, for going onto the playing area, made subject to a three-year football banning order and ordered to pay £500 towards prosecution costs.