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SHAC- Letter from Heather Nicholson VM 4859 serving 11 years for animal
Mandy in Camden | 22.02.2009
From Heather Nicholson, VM
4859, HMP Bronzefield, Woodthorpe Road, Ashford, Ashford, Middx,
I am very grateful for your support. Words can never adequately
express what it means to me and how much you have helped me.
Your support for me means that you support the animals and that
brings me some comfort.
I spoke up for the animals in court while I was being questioned
for nearly 4 whole days. It was frustrating though & I came out
feeling as if I had said about 1% of what i had intended to say.
I am heartbroken as always for the animals still suffering at
the hands of the cowards at HLS. It makes me cry to think that
they (the animals) have no idea that anyone cares. It is
frightening that they have so many powerful enemies.
I predicted that there would be no justice & that the media
would be vile & untruthful * I was right. Any attack on us is an
attack on the animals. i don't mind if the truth is reported as
long as it is relevant but the news has been massively
distorted, to say the least, ( especially calling me
"mastermind"!) The press were only in court at the start & very
end of the three-mont trial so what they reported was fed to
them by the police plus what they made up (see Daily Mail!!!).
Claims of impartiality are nonsense & the police & the press
were practically snoggning each other every time the jury left
the courtroom. in over 4000 pages of covert audio surveillance,
not once did I say anything that amounted to blackmail or
committing an illegal act. there was no evidence that I had
ever made an "unwarranted demand with menaces" because I
haven't. The judge agreed with me & said that I was quite right
when I said that I hadn't sent nasty things through the post,
damaged anyone's property, threatened anyone etc - nor was I
accused of doing so. the crazy thing is that you don't have to
do anything to be convicted of conspiracy but the sentences are
long (even longer for us!!!). I have just been sentenced to 11
years in prison. It is just insane - even if I had been guilty.
The guards at court were angry & bemused by the 'guilty'
verdicts & sentences. i could give you hundreds of examples of
horrific crimes that have received lesser sentences than mine (
and I have never hurt anyone in my life!). Here is just a small
(i) a woman held down two children to be raped - 8yrs.
(ii) Two men got drunk & punched a random passerby to death - 3
(iii) Three men raped a 14 yr old girl & filmed it - then they
poured caustic soda over her -9yrs, 7yrs, 5yrs
(iv) Anyone who tortures and kills an animal or is cruel in any
way will never get more than 6 months
(v) People who kill others in a hit & run sometimes get as
little as 4 months
(vi) A woman killed her baby - 5 yrs
(vii) A man stamped on another man's head & left him in a
wheelchair for life 7 yrs
I don't regret going to trial because my words are recorded
forever by the court, so if someone in 50 years time does some
research they will see that what was said in court bears
little resemblance to what was reported. The media have
shamelessly deceived the public. My biggest concern though was
that the worst photo that has ever been taken of me was on
television all night long!!! I looked like something out of
SHAC is a phenomenal ground0breaking campaign that has shaken the
vivisection industry to the core by totally legitimate means. i
am not saying that unjust laws should not be broken - after all
it is the 'law' that allows such suffering of animals. And that
law is wrong. A few years ago tony Blair had a secret meeting
with GSK, Novartis & others who told him that unless he sorted
out the animal rights activist they ( the drug companies) would
leave the UK. (Now that's BLACKMAIL!!) It was no coincidence that
we were raided in May 2007 a matter of weeks before Tony Blair
My conscience is more than clear & I am extremely proud of
everything that I have helped to achieve over the years. I am
proud that I didn't sit back & cry in my armchair about how
awful animal cruelty is but actually tried to change things & I
made a stand against cruelty & oppression. I said in court to the
jury that in time people would look back in horror at this trial
& say "was it really legal to do that to animals & did they
really put people in prison for trying to stop it?
We were very unlucky to have such a cold, heartless, callous
jury who clearly didn't care about people or animals. some were
seen giggling & sniggering with the police while barristers were
making their closing speeches. I will never understand how they
could sit and watch puppies being punched in the face and then
find any of us guilty.
when i gave evidence i asked the jury if they would object,
complain or intervene if someone dragged a dog into court &
started punching her and, if they would, then perhaps they
should be stood in the dock with me! i wonder if they are all
happy now in the knowledge that WE are initial and not a single
person in the courtroom ( apart from us and some supporters in
the public gallery) would ever speak out or take action to stop
the atrocities occurring inside HLS. Clearly no-one on the jury
would have lifted a finger to help any animal (or person) in
danger. Watching the New York airplane's emergency landing in
the Hudson river, I thought it was wonderful to see the ferries
rushing to help save the passengers, throwing life jackets -and
then hearing the survivors speaking so emotionally about their
frightening experience and expressing their deep gratitude to
the brave pilot and the people who didn't hesitate to help
them. we all hope, pray and sometimes expect to be save when we
are in danger.
It breaks my heart that so many people in the world and
billions of animals can scream and struggle and plead, and
no-one comes to their rescue. I can't bear it. to rescue is at
the heart of my being and that is all that I have ever wanted to
do. It is my motivation for campaigning against cruelty. all of
you who have carried on the SHAC campaign ( and others) - you
have my utmost respect and admiration . Thank you.
The support for all of us in here from other prisoners and
officers continues to be amazing. They too are bemused and angry
at the verdict. They express to us their feelings of outrage at
the injustice of the convictions and the sentences. i always
said that I would not be devastated if found guilty ( I'm not) and
wouldn't be celebrating if found not guilty. The only losers are
the animals at HLS and they are still suffering. The sentences
passed down to us were a victory for sadism, greed and
cowardice. The compassionate and brave have lost their freedom
I am enormously proud and in awe of the activists that i stood
side by side with in court - Gregg, Natasha, Gavin, Dan Amos,
dan Wadham and Gerrah. They are all exceptional, selfless people
and have all conducted themselves with greta courage and dignity
throughout this whole circus. I will never forget Gavin and Dan
Wadham's evidence in the witness box. They were superb.
sometimes I feel like I am living on the wrong plane because for
me it is natural to run to the aid of others and to speak out
when something is wrong and here i am imprisoned for 11 years. it
is ingrained in me to be kind, it always has been and always
will be and it is baffling to me that others can be so cruel. i
will never understand it as long as i live. all I can do is try
and stop it.
The prison sniffer dogs have just been around and have
made my day. i sat on the floor cuddling sam ( looks like my
Laddie) and tears were pouring down my face. those dogs filled
me with such energy and strength and warmth and love.
Please don't ever stop fighting for the abused animals.
My time in here hasn't been wasted because, in case you
haven't heard, we have managed to have all the budgies
and cockatiels here sent to a sanctuary and good homes.
Bronzefield is now animal-free - as it should be. I am
also doing my best to help as many troubled people in
here as I can and gaining diplomas in animal care/health
and veterinary nursing and will come out of prison a
greatly improved and more knowledgeable person.
I want to thank you again so much for your support. It
means the world to me.
Lots of love,
"Never, never be afraid to do what is right, especially
if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake.
Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we
inflict on our soul when we look the other way". (Martin
Mandy in Camden