Mar 9 2007
A GRANDMOTHER has been jailed for 15 months for taking part in terrifying animal rights demonstrations.
Theresa Portwine told the Advertiser three weeks ago she was not a fanatic and was ready for any sentence.
The 48-year-old, from Dunley Drive, New Addington, became an activist six years ago when she was on a lunch-break and walked past a stand in Croydon publicising animal cruelty.
Portwine, a vegan, admitted she had used a megaphone at protests - including one dubbed Kick Ass Day 3 - because she was "very good on it" and had "a strong powerful voice".
The gran-of-three had also worn a skull mask and hurled abuse, when she and other protesters stormed into the offices of firms that dealt with animal testing laboratory Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS).
She told the Advertiser: "All we do is use a few harsh words.
I can't see how calling people scum and animal abusers is wrong.
"I'm not scared and if I do go to prison I will hold my head up high. I have done what I believe in."
Portwine and husband-and-wife accomplices Mark and Susane Taylor, from Yorkshire, were involved in dozens of protests across the country.
They branded staff "murderers", "perverts" and "scumbags", warning them "you'll get it if you don't stop dealing with HLS.'"
Mark Taylor,39, was jailed for four years and his 35-year-old wife for 30 months.
Judge Mr Justice Goldring told the trio: "It seems perfectly obvious how frightening in may cases this conduct was.
"The whole purpose was to frighten and intimidate so the companies in question would give up their relationship with Huntingdon Life Sciences."
The defendants' children sobbed in the public gallery as Portwine and Susane Taylor hugged each other before they were led away after being sentenced on Tuesday.
Portwine had admitted the charge of conspiracy to interfere with contractual relationships so as to harm an animal research organisation.