AN environmental activist jailed for illegally protesting at an oil terminal and subsequently glueing herself to the dock in court, has insisted she is “grateful to be of service to humanity.”

Michelle Charlesworth, 56, of Villeboys Close in Abingdon, has been in prison at HMP Foston Hall in Derbyshire since May 4, after taking part in multiple Just Stop Oil actions at the Kingsbury oil terminal in Warwickshire since April 1.

The protests saw activists blocking access to the depot and demanding the Government stops new oil and gas projects.

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Ms Charlesworth claims she ‘peacefully’ stood outside the site holding a placard, this broke an injunction on protest obtained by the refinery’s owners. She was arrested and ordered to attend a committal hearing.

However, instead of attending Birmingham Crown Court she went back to the oil refinery and stood outside again. She was remanded in police custody, and upon appearing in court glued herself to the dock.

Oxford Mail:

At Birmingham Crown Court, on May 18 Ms Charlesworth was sentenced to a further 33 days in prison, after being found guilty of several counts of breaking the Kingsbury injunction and failing to attend court.

She was then put in solitary confinement for 24 hours – on her birthday. She remained in her cell with no contact with other prisoners and exercised in a small, concrete, fenced pen.

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Fellow protestor Sarah Webb, 50 from Wallingford spent a week at the same Midlands prison after protesting at the Valero Oil Depot in Kingsbury, where she sat at the entrance holding a “No New Oil” sign for about 10 minutes.

Oxford Mail:

Grandmother, Ms Charlesworth, is a volunteer at One Planet Abingdon, where she works on environmental projects.

She said: “My beautiful grandson will be three years old in June. His future and the futures of all the young people in this country are being stolen by the continued 'ecocidal' activities of the fossil fuel industry. This negligent Government continues to grant new licenses and by doing so, are complicit in this ecocide. I cannot stand by and watch, I will not stand by.”

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The activist has received several hundred messages of support from all over the world.

She said: “Inmates are curious and want to know more. It’s interesting how little people seem to know about the existential crisis that we are in, officers and inmates alike. Everyone is looking at us and wondering why we would go to such lengths.

Oxford Mail:

“I am taking each day as it comes, not always sure of the repercussions of any disobedience – but trusting that it will all be okay, and I will cope with whatever comes. I believe that I am doing the right thing, at the right time, and I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.

"I have never before felt such purpose – and I am grateful to be of service to humanity.”

Her son Nathan Charlesworth supported her illegal activity, saying: "In a time when so few people are willing to stand up and speak up about what truly matters to all humans, my mum Michelle is doing all she can and at great cost to herself and her family, she is an inspiration."

Read more from this author

This story was written by Rebecca Whittaker, she joined the team in 2019 as a multimedia reporter.

Rebecca covers education and news in Abingdon and Wantage.

Get in touch with her by emailing: or calling 07824524333

Follow her on Twitter @RebecWhitt

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