A RYEDALE grandmother who defended herself during an all-day trial has lost her case.

Heather Stroud, 68, deliberately echoed the actions of suffragettes by chaining herself to a gate outside the Third Energy site near Kirby Misperton during an anti-fracking demonstration on January 30, York Magistrates’ Court heard.

After she was arrested and charged with obstructing the highway, she claimed that the human right of freedom of conscience entitled her to do what she did.

But after hearing a two-hour speech from her about her human rights, her views on Britain’s current democratic state and why she was opposed to

fracking, as well as hearing evidence from a professor specialising in climate change and another defence witness, district judge Adrian Lower rejected her case.

“Rights are not trump cards that can simply be played to deny the rights of other people,” he told her.

By chaining herself to the gate, she had denied lorry drivers and others their right to enter and exit the Third Energy site, he said.

About 30 anti-fracking protesters in the public gallery applauded Stroud at the end of the case.

Stroud, of Gilling East, near Ampleforth, who had no previous convictions, denied obstructing the highway but was convicted. She was given a six-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay a £20 statutory surcharge.

She did not contest the prosecution evidence, including footage of her chained to the gate.

The court heard she was asked to leave it and when she declined, a specialist team of police officers removed her using bolt croppers.

Stroud told the court: “Chaining myself to the gate was a symbol on many levels.”

These included marking the 100 year anniversary of the suffragettes, she said.

The mayor of Malton, Cllr Paul Andrews, who initially attended as an onlooker, volunteered late in the trial to give evidence for the defence.

He said that as chairman of Habton Parish Council, he attended liaison meetings with Third Energy, which had repeatedly said it hoped to start fracking on the site imminently.