A furious mother who rammed Insulate Britain activists with her Range Rover after they blocked the road as she tried to take her son to school has been revealed as an entrepreneur who started her own food business during lockdown.
Sherrilyn Speid, 34, from Purfleet, Essex, was filmed driving her car at Insulate Britain protesters who were blocking the road by traffic lights at junction 31 of the M25 near Thurrock, on the north side of the Dartford Crossing which links Essex to Kent.
The activists were part of a group of more than 40 demonstrators who ran out onto the road by traffic lights on October 13.
The footage – filmed by another person at the protest – shows the woman believed to be Ms Speid get out of the Range Rover to confront the protesters.
After they refuse to move, she then drove her Range Rover at them – causing one to scream out in panic.
Reacting to footage of the confrontation, Ms Speid wrote on Instagram today: ‘I never ran them over, I gave them a nudge. So dramatic man.’
Ms Speid was today revealed as an entrepreneur who started a food business during lockdown, providing Caribbean food to the local Essex community.
Her business then spread across Essex and London with companies asking her to cater events.
Sherrilyn Speid, 34, from Purfleet, Essex, was filmed driving her car into Insulate Britain protesters. She was revealed today as an entrepreneur who started her own food business during lockdown
Reacting to footage of the confrontation, Ms Speid wrote on Instagram today: ‘I never ran them over, I gave them a nudge. So dramatic man’
Ms Speid, who was infuriated with Insulate Britain protesters blocking the road, told them ‘I’ll drive through you then’
Ms Speid started a food business during lockdown, providing Caribbean food to the local Essex community
Her food business spread across Essex and London during lockdown with companies asking her to cater events
The video of Ms Speid, filmed in Thurrock last Wednesday, showed her black Range Rover driving up to the backs of three activists who are sitting on the road holding an Insulate Britain poster.
After stopping just centimetres from the back of one protester, the woman, believed to be Ms Speid, got out of her car, ripped the poster from the activists and said: ‘Move out the way. I’m not joking. My son needs to get to school and I need to get to work.’
As she moved to lean over one of the sitting protesters, she then added: ‘Move out the way. Move out the way now.’
She then returned to her car while saying: ‘I’ll drive through you then. My son is 11 and he needs to get to school.’
One of the protesters turned to her and said ‘you can’t drive through us’ before the infuriated mother again said her son needed to get to school and she needed to get to work.
The protester told Ms Speid ‘she understands’ and that she is ‘sorry’ about blocking her route.
But the infuriated driver replied: ‘Move out the way then. Move out of the way and let me get my son to school.’
She then got back into her car and started driving it forwards into the back of the protesters as one shouted ‘ow, ow ow, no’.
Ms Speid then got out of the car again and said: ‘Someone needs to move them out of the way. Move out of the way now. You are taking the f***ing p***. My son needs to get to school. I don’t care what your f***ing issue is.’
After shouting at the protesters, the woman got back into her car and started ramming it towards two protesters sat in front of her vehicle
Before driving her vehicle towards protesters sitting on the road, the woman was seen shouting at them
A man in a hi-vis jacket signalled to the driver to stop and eventually walked in front of the vehicle as one activist screamed out
The incident happened on October 13 as activists from Insulate Britain protested for the 13th time in four weeks
A lorry driver was also seen driving his vehicle right up to protesters as irate motorists reacted angrily to Insulate Britain activists who were causing disruption on the roads for the 13th time in four weeks.
Essex Police said they made a total of 35 arrests, while a motoring organisation warned Insulate Britain’s ‘incredibly dangerous’ protests could pose a threat to people’s lives.
RAC road safety spokesman Simon Williams said: ‘However well-intentioned the cause might be, blocking major roads is incredibly dangerous both to the protesters and those inside their vehicles.
‘Not only will this cause disruption to commuters on their way to work, but there may be people who miss hospital appointments or worse still emergency vehicles will be delayed which could pose a threat to life.’
Insulate Britain: How activists have made a mockery of the law
September 13 – 78 Insulate Britain protesters arrested after blocking junctions 3, 6, 14, 20 and 31 of the M25
September 15 – More than 50 protesters arrested after targeting junctions 1, 8, 9 and 23 of the M25
September 17 – 48 protesters arrested after targeting junctions 3, 9 and 28 of the M25, as well as the M3
September 20 – 29 protesters are arrested after blocking the M25 at junctions 4 and 18, as well as the A1
September 21 – Protesters risk death by running into moving traffic to block the carriageway near Junction 10. Some 38 arrests are made. National Highways obtains an injunction against further protests on the M25
September 22 – Protesters burn copies of the injunction outside the Home Office, blocking the road outside the ministry. No arrests are made
September 24 – 39 protesters arrested after blocking roads at three locations in Dover. They are all released under investigation. National Highways obtains a second injunction covering Dover.
September 27 – 53 protesters are arrested for blocking a slip road at Junction 14 of the M25. They are all released under investigation.
September 28 – National Highways says it is taking ‘legal advice’ over how to enforce its injunction
September 29 – 27 protesters are arrested for blocking a roundabout at Junction 3 of the M25 on two occasions
September 30 – Protesters return to junction 30 at Thurrock in Essex, and nine are arrested
October 1: The group block the M4 at junction 3, the M1 at junction 1 and M25 at junction 25. Some 39 arrests
October 2: Third injunction bans them from obstructing traffic and access to motorways and major A roads in and around London
October 4: 38 arrests after protesters block three major roads in London – the Blackwall Tunnel, Wandsworth Bridge and A40 and North Circular at Hanger Lane.
October 8: 19 arrested over protest at Old Street roundabout and a further 16 on the M25 at junction 24. Transport for London gets a High Court injunction to ban them from obstructing traffic in 14 locations in London.
October 13: Protesters return to the M25 at junction 31 and a nearby industrial estate, with 35 people arrested.
Mother Ms Speid took to social media to laugh off claims she rammed the activists.
In a magazine interview about her business, she previously said: ‘Once I started posting my food on social media the brand expanded and I started catering for people from all over Essex and London.
‘I had learned how to cook Caribbean food as part of my culture and wanted to build on those skills to keep busy, and earn extra cash during the pandemic. They say that COVID-19 should bring out the hustler in you, well for me, this was definitely the case.
‘The business developed a lot quicker than I anticipated and I was asked by all different companies to cater for their events throughout the summer.
‘This includes, Clubs, Bars, Birthday Parties, Charities, Youth projects and Colleges. I even took part in the Black Lives Matter movement by selling my food to students at a discounted price for Black History Month, and raised money for the Black Minds Matter Charity. I enjoy cooking and love to bring good vibes with the flavours especially at this difficult time. Shelz Soul Food brings people together in a positive, fun and safe way.’
The incident, which took place on the morning of October 13, was the 13th major protest by the eco-zealots in four weeks after the group targeted the M25, the Blackwall Tunnel in London and the Port of Dover – at a time where the country is already facing a major supply chain crisis.
The eco-mob are demanding the Government pay to better insulate Britain’s social housing stock, but have come under fire over claims one of the group’s ringleaders lives in a home which is not properly insulated.
Others members of the green group, which last week suspended their ‘campaign of civil resistance’ ahead of next week’s Cop26, have been revealed to have jet-setted across the globe.
Government officials meanwhile are attempting to use injunctions and court powers to bring an end to the disruptive protests of the eco-zealots – who have repeatedly bounced from police station to protests with police seemingly unable to stop them.
London’s transport network was granted the order earlier this month, which is aimed at preventing the Extinction Rebellion offshoot from obstructing traffic on some of the capital’s busiest roads.
It came after the group shut down Old Street, near the hipster enclave of Shoreditch in east London.
A judge said the injunction was extended either until a trial is held, a further court order or April 8 next year.
The TfL injunction bans the protesters from blocking traffic in various locations across the capital, such as Vauxhall Bridge, Tower Bridge, London Bridge and Chiswick roundabout.
It applies to busy London spots including Hanger Lane, the Hammersmith gyratory system, Blackwall Tunnel, the A501 ring road from Edgware Road to Old Street, Staples Corner, Redbridge roundabout and the Kidbrooke interchange.
Protesters are also barred from Park Lane, Marble Arch Hyde Park Corner, Elephant and Castle – including all entry and exit roads and the Victoria one-way system.
Members of the protest group have also been made subject to three other injunctions granted to National Highways, banning demonstrations on the M25, around the Port of Dover and on major roads around London.
In a hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Tuesday, Mr Justice Lavender extended the TfL injunction and granted permission for the list of named individuals it covers to be amended.
The judge said the injunction was extended either until a trial is held in the case or a further court order or April 8 next year.
‘This doesn’t rule out the possibility that it could be extended again by a judge on a further occasion,’ he added.
Last week, the court heard that National Highways may ask for a default or summary judgment – legal steps which would mean the case against the protesters is resolved without a trial.
Mr Justice Lavender also granted a request by TfL’s barrister, Andrew Fraser-Urquhart QC, for further disclosure of information by the Metropolitan Police relating to arrests.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Insulate Britain members were given the chance to address the court.
The eco-zealots (pictured last week) revealed last week it would ‘suspend its campaign of civil resistance’ until October 25 – ahead of the Cop26 summit in November
Dr Diana Warner, a retired GP, told the court that Insulate Britain is ‘intent on keeping the public safe’ and ‘committed to non-violence’.
The 62-year-old added that there is a ‘wide gulf’ between her understanding of ‘what constitutes safety’ and National Highways’ stance.
Dr Warner said National Highways should slow traffic to 10 or 20 miles per hour when people are on the motorway, warning that she expects to continue Insulate Britain’s campaign for ‘civil resistance’ until ‘a meaningful statement from the Government that we can trust’.
‘I’m willing to give up my freedom and my house. These are all the material things I have,’ she said, adding that there is ‘everything to lose if we destroy the Earth that sustains us’.
Breaching a court order can result in a committal for contempt of court, which, if proved, may be punished with up to two years in prison and an unlimited fine.
At Tuesday’s hearing, Mr Justice Lavender emphasised to those in court which injunctions are in place and encouraged people who find themselves served with a committal application to seek legal advice.
At a High Court hearing held last week, the same judge extended the three National Highways injunctions.
The eco-zealots last week revealed they would ‘suspend their campaign of civil resistance’ until October 25 – ahead of the Cop26 summit in November.
Activists penned a letter to Boris Johnson saying they would stop their hated antics and quoted the PM’s hero Sir Winston Churchill in an apparent bid to win him over.
The surprise move was just hours after it emerged more than a dozen of their members will finally face court action and possible jail within days.
Just over a month after the first roadblocks brought chaos to the motorways, officials are set to ask judges to take action against the eco-warriors.
Insulate Britain’s letter to the PM revealed it planned to suspend protests for 11 days.
It said: ‘Insulate Britain would like to take this opportunity to profoundly acknowledge the disruption caused over the past five weeks.
‘We cannot imagine undertaking such acts in normal circumstances. But the dire reality of our situation has to be faced.
‘Ahead of COP26, Insulate Britain will suspend its campaign of civil resistance until Monday 25th October.
‘In light of the speech you made (to the UN on the 22nd September) in which you recognised that ”We are approaching that critical turning point – in less than two months – when we must show that we are capable of learning, and maturing, and finally taking responsibility for the destruction we are inflicting, not just upon our planet but ourselves”, we ask you to use this time to signal that you believe what you say.
‘We invite you to make a meaningful statement that we can trust, a statement that the country wants to hear: that your government will live up to its responsibilities to protect us, to defend law and order; that your government will take the lead needed to insulate and retrofit our homes; that it will ‘get on with the job’ so families can feed their children and keep their homes warm.
‘We invite you to do the right thing, so we can be secure in the knowledge that our government did everything it could to protect and defend our country.’
The statement began with a quote attributed to Sir Winston Churchill, Mr Johnson’s hero who he has written a biography about.
It said: ‘Owing to past neglect, in the face of the plainest of warnings, we have entered upon a period of danger.
‘The era of procrastination, of half measures, of soothing baffling expedients, of delays is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequence.’ (Winston Churchill 1936).’