A PhD student has been convicted of plotting a ‘terrorist’ attack that caused £1.2 million damage to a factory in Wales she says produced weapons.
Artist and Palestinian action activist Ruth Hogg was found guilty yesterday of conspiracy to commit criminal damage after the incident on December 9 last year.
The 40-year-old, from Aberystwyth, was part of a group that believed Teledyne Labtech in Presteigne, Powys, was making circuit boards for Israeli drones.
Together with three others, she participated in a “professionally planned attack on a soft target that amounts to a terrorist attack,” the court said.
Attorney Elen Owen, for the prosecution, told Caernarfon Crown Court the group’s actions were ‘sinister’ as they attempted to close the Presteigne factory in Powys, which employs 64 workers.
Ruth Hogg (pictured), 40, was found guilty yesterday of conspiracy to cause criminal damage
Pictured one of the activists causing significant damage to Teledyne Labtech at Presteigne in Powys, Wales
The activists, wearing balaclavas, were reportedly “determined” to cause as much damage as possible and were “armed” with a drill, crowbar, sledgehammer, angle grinder and smoke grenades.
The factory produced circuit boards for various purposes, including MRI scanners, but the intruders claimed they were taking action because it also made circuit boards for Israeli drones — unbeknownst to the staff working there, according to Hog’s lawyer James Manning.
Ms Owen told the court: ‘This was not a protest. It was a professionally planned attack on a soft target, which amounts to a terrorist attack on people who didn’t deserve it.
“They targeted a small factory in rural Wales with at best tenuous ties to the arms companies because it would give them maximum publicity for minimum effort. You have no actual evidence, only what Ruth Hogg told you.”
Hogg, of Stanley Road, Aberystwyth, who has a master’s degree in fine arts and worked in a gallery in the mid-Wales town, previously denied conspiracy to damage property on Dec. 9.
But yesterday in court, she agreed as evidence that she drilled holes in the roof of Teledyne Labtech to let rain in and try to stop work there.
Questioned by her lawyer, Hogg also agreed that she had smashed windows after confirming with the fire department that the building was empty and spraying paint from a fire extinguisher through the broken windows.
The group members broke into the factory with a number of tools, including a sledgehammer
The activists sprayed red paint all over the factory to symbolize the blood of innocent victims
The red paint that was sprayed was supposed to symbolize the blood of innocent people who had died in the conflict between Israel and Palestine.
She said the factory also looked like it had been bombed. “It’s an interesting parallel,” she noted.
Susan Bagshaw, 65, of Clawdd Helyg, Commins Coch, Morwenna Grey, 41, of Penrallt Street, Machynlleth, and Tristan Dixon, 34, of Huddersfield, have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause criminal damage.
Judge Rhys Rowlands told Hogg she would face sentencing next month along with her accomplices after being found guilty of “overwhelming” evidence. She remains in custody.
He said that “good” people sometimes do bad things, but their livelihoods have been put in jeopardy, adding: “There must be consequences.”
Despite her strong beliefs, he said, “The difficulty is that the way you did it that day was completely wrong, completely illegal.”