A mother on the school run who used her £80,000 Range Rover to ‘nudge’ an Insulate Britain zealot blocking the M25 today declared she should never have been taken to court after being fined just £40 despite being threatened with prison.
Sherrilyn Speid, 35, of Grays, Essex, blasted the police and revealed the public stop her to thank her and also ask for selfies after she was handed a community punishment and a driving ban at Basildon Magistrates’ Court this morning.
The mother-of-two became an unlikely hero after she was filmed losing her temper at the hardline tactics of the eco warriors who had spent weeks blocking roads, including the M25.
Speid, who originally faced a charge of assault before it was dropped at an earlier hearing, could have been jailed for her actions but walked free from court today. Instead she was banned from driving for a year, fined £40, along with a £95 victim surcharge.
Prosecutors asked for £310 costs but magistrates requested Speid pay a reduced amount of £105. She will also have to carry out 20 days of community punishment in the next year.
Speid declared today she should not have even been prosecuted and revealed she is often stopped by people in the street who praise her for her actions near to the M25 last October.
She said: ‘I shouldn’t have been here today, sorry but I’m just a working mum who was trying to get my boy to school that morning. It was a nudge – just to get them to move. There are a lot of examples of far worse driving where people don’t get treated like this’.
Accusing the police of trying to make an example of her because of her unlikely fame, she added: ‘I think it’s double standards. We all called the police and they did not come.’
Sherrilyn Speid (pictured today) arrives at Basildon Magistrates’ Court in Essex, for sentencing after she pleaded guilty to dangerous driving at a Insulate Britain protest. She was banned from driving for a year, fined £40, along with a £95 victim surcharge
Speid, who was infuriated with Insulate Britain protesters blocking the road, told them ‘I’ll drive through you then’ after begging them to move and they removed
Ms Speid started a food business during lockdown, providing Caribbean food to the local Essex community. She said being in court and dealing with the case has left her out of pocket
Essex Police this morning declared their actions were justified after Speid accused them of over reacting.
Detective Chief Inspector Steve Nelson said: ‘When dealing with incidents such as this, we police them without fear or favour in a manner to keep everyone at the scene safe and we have consistently said our priority in these instances has been to keep our county’s roads moving.
Sherrilyn Speid blasted the police, accusing them of double standards
‘We investigated the incident in Grays fully and thoroughly, independently of the circumstances around it, and a file was submitted to the CPS. A decision was made by the CPS that this case should be put before a court.
‘Regarding the wider disruption caused on the M25, M11 and their surrounding roads in September and October 2021, we have now secured a total of 56 charges against those we believe to be involved.
‘They are due in court in the coming weeks.’
Speid was heading to work when the drama unfolded and had her 11-year-old son in her luxury car on October 13 2021 at about 8.30am.
She was captured in video footage – shown at Basildon Magistrates’ Court today – as she pleaded with protestors to move before getting back into her £80,000 car and gently nudging them forwards.
The mental health support worker had been at the wheel of her black Range Rover when she came across the Insulate Britain protest near the M25.
Speid, dressed in a black hoodie and black leggings, sat in the dock of courtroom one as she was sentenced today.
Prosecutor Ashley Petchey said protesters were sitting across the road and queues of traffic had built up behind them. ‘They were blocking the highway in various locations.
‘A female in a black Range Rover Velar had got out and remonstrated with the protesters before deliberately driving into the back of two female protestors.’
The court was shown video of the incident and Speid could be heard begging ‘my son needs to get to school’.
Other members of the public were shouting aggressively at the eco warriors, demanding they get out of the road.
Speid pleads to the women sat in front of her ‘move out of the way now’ and ‘my son needs to go to school and I need to go to work’.
Of the dangerous driving count, Mr Petchey said: ‘It is not an excessive speed as the driver was using the brakes quite harshly as you saw.
‘The driver does this on two occasions. It stops very close to a female protester.
He said Speid was ‘angry and agitated with the situation’.
‘We see the vehicle move forward three times, covering a short distance and you see what happens.
‘Clearly this was an incident where there was a risk, even if no injury was caused.
‘Clearly a risk of personal injury… Miss Speid knew the protosters were there, she had even remonstrated with them before driving forward in her vehicle.
‘The speed was not excessive.’
Speid changed her plea on March 28 at Southend magistrates where an interim driving ban was also issued.
Mr Petchey showed an interview from the following day with radio station LBC adding: ‘I do feel it is relevant in this case.’
Speid told presenter Nick Ferrari: ‘It was a huge injustice for me, I do feel devastated, I just feel very let down…I am too scared to speak my mind.’ She said she felt police were not ‘on her side’.
Lauren Hebditch, mitigating, told the court how her client was an ‘inspiration to many young people’ through her work in mental health.
‘She was in a very difficult time in her life. She was under pressure and stress.
‘On the week this happened she’d fled her family home after 12 years and had suffered from domestic violence before moving to a safe house.
‘She was feeling numb and disassociated with her physical health…
‘She was angry, scared and petrified… she had finally found confidence that week to leave that relationship’
Speid broke down in tears as the court heard details of the breakdown of her relationship.
‘She asks the protestors multiple times to move out of the way. She can be heard pleading with them.,’ Ms Hebdicth added.
Sherrilyn Speid was filmed driving her car into Insulate Britain protesters in the clip
Reacting to footage of the confrontation, Speid wrote on Instagram: ‘I never ran them over, I gave them a nudge. So dramatic man’
Ms Hebditch said Speid is now helping young people, providing counselling as well as setting up support groups for mental health for adults.
‘She was going to counsel young people on the day this happened.
‘She is inspiring to everyone she meets… She is mortified though. She can’t believe it was her. The protestors don’t support this.
‘She accepts it was dangerous driving and shouldn’t have acted the way she did.’
An assault charge against Speid, in which it was alleged that protester Bethany Mogie had been beaten, was dismissed at the earlier hearing after the prosecution said it would produce no evidence. The court heard that Speid is now on universal credit.
Susan Hawkins, chairman of the magistrates bench, said: ‘We do consider this to be in the lower category than the prosecution stated at the beginning so we are placing you under a community order as we do feel its serious enough for us to do that.’
Speaking today Speid declared: ‘I wanted to get him to school and I had to get to work. I’m self employed – if I don’t get to work, I don’t get paid.
‘It was a stressful time. I needed to get to where I needed to go.
‘I did ask them nicely loads of times and they didn’t.’
Speid revealed how people still stop her in the street to praise her for her actions on the day, with some even asking for selfies.
‘It was nice to get the support. When people heard more about me and the work I do, they knew I supported a lot of people.
‘The protesters didn’t support the court case, I’ve been told.
‘I was even told the protestor was willing to come to court to give evidence saying she was not hurt and did not receive any medical attention.
‘It’s the police that have pushed this. They are really going for this.
‘They are definitely trying to make an example out of me because it was high profile and because I got fame from it.
‘They see me as a threat as a lot of people are listening to me. But I did not ask for the attention.
‘I think it’s double standards. We all called the police and they did not come.’