Practical Issues > Things To Do > Activism


Jill Phipps is crushed to death under export lorry!

On Wednesday 1 February 1995, 31 year old protester Jill Phipps was crushed to death under the wheels of an export truck carrying baby veal calves into Coventry Airport. Despite the fact that nearly 100 officers were on duty that day, 10 of the 33 protesters present had broken through police lines and attempted to bring the lorry to a halt by sitting on the road and attempting to chain themselves to it. Jill and the others mistakenly assumed that police officers and the lorry driver (Stephen Yates) would respect human life a little more than animals, they were wrong. Police on duty allowed the export lorry to continue making progress despite the clear safety problems. The vehicle was only halted by police once Jill had been crushed beneath the wheels. The Crown Prosecution Service decided there was not enough evidence to charge Stephen Yates with Causing death by dangerous driving.

Jill Phipps brother Zab commented, "Jill was crushed and died on the way to hospital. Our mother, Nancy, was with her. The driver has not been charged, not even with driving without due care & attention".

A protester at the scene commented "Jill died after police waved on the lorry carrying the calves despite the fact that protesters were still occupying the road the lorry was to go down. Despite their public claims to the contrary, Warwickshire police were so keen to protect the business of this filthy firm that they had made little effort to ensure the way was clear. Assuming the road to be clear after the police had signaled him to move on, the truck driver moved off at speed, knocking Jill down and crushing her under his wheels. Had anyone else made the decision to wave the lorry on they could have faced charges of reckless negligence or even manslaughter. It is considered unlikely that Warwickshire Police will investigate themselves from this angle. The polices primary duty is to `protect life and property`, it would appear that Warwickshire take the property aspect more seriously than the lives of demonstrators."

The following was written by a close friend of Jill's:

I first met Jill in 1983-84. She and her mother Nancy and a few others were holding a stall in Coventry. I kept in touch with animal rights and the hunt sabs, but didn't get involved due to health reasons.

When the situation at Coventry started I thought 'not on my patch you don't' and I became an active member of the protest at the airport and tried not to miss any flights. Jolley was flying planes full of calves out 8 times a day.

The night before Jill was killed was spent at the airport, I had returned from a four day walk to parliament from Coventry to try and get the useless M.P's off their arses but to no avail.

We had succeeded in pressuring the Jolley machine so much that one of the Boeing 737s had crashed trying to meet deadlines.

We spent January the 31st at an all night vigil in pouring rain, luckily we had use of my VW camper van. I used to talk to Jill about loads of things, the world, its problems, the scum farmers, etc. I think Jill and I were convinced not to bring any more children into this nightmare.

On the 1st of February I met Jill at about 3pm at the airport. We had a chat and I showed her an Alsatian dog who I had adopted. She was quite happy, she had stopped smoking and was generally settled. We were confident of defeating Barrett Jolley. When we knew the truck was coming we crept past the coppers (there were 90 cops on duty).

We intended to slow the trucks progress by myself and another chaining ourselves to it. The last conversation I had with Jill was that we'll slow this truck as much as possible, go home and get some tea and return to the airport later.

The last thing I saw of Jill was when I was trying to chain myself to the drivers mirror. I was grabbed by the police and we were led back to the main group. It was half an hour before it was confirmed that Jill had been killed.

I have never been so devastated as I was over Jill's death. I will never forgive those involved in animal abuse and to a certain extent the meat eating public who are as much to blame - if the trade in animal cruelty and death didn't exist we would never have had to demonstrate.

I will never forget Jill and love her forever, Pam Brown.