Vegan activist guilty over fake blood protest at McDonald's

Vegan activist guilty over fake blood protest at McDonald's

Published at 5:52pm 12th September 2019. (Updated at 7:04pm 12th September 2019)

A vegan activist who smeared fake blood over a McDonald's in Brighton has been convicted of criminal damage.

Dylan Roffey, 24, wore a pig's mask as she protested at the fast food restaurant on 18 May against the slaughter of animals.

Pictures of the demonstration showed the blood smeared over the floor of the McDonald's.

She was one of about 20 protesters who "overwhelmed" security when they entered the premises holding signs and chanting through a megaphone.

Wearing a t-shirt which said 'meat the victims', the actress claimed in court that her actions were legal because she was trying to save animals from slaughter.

Roffey said the "blood" was a "completely edible" mixture of flour and food dye and said she used it to highlight the plight of animals she claimed were being "murdered".

Her defence was rejected by magistrates in Brighton and she was found guilty of criminal damage.

However she was cleared of obstructing a police officer, with district judge Amanda Kelly saying she was "not sure" the officer used reasonable force.

Robert Frost, assistant manager at the Brighton McDonald's, told the court that between 10 to 20 protesters arrived at about 7.30pm.

He said: "They overwhelmed security.

"One of them had a loudspeaker chanting slogans about how there are animals being killed and they began throwing red paint, to show blood, across the premises.

"Some of the customers were quite upset."

He said he called police and some protesters left, but one woman refused to. He said he saw officers pull her up and take her outside.

Roffey, 24, told Brighton Magistrates' Court she wanted to highlight the "murder" of animals by McDonald's during the protest.

Of her motivation she said: "To raise awareness of what McDonald's is doing to animals and to save the lives of animals by being there and stopping the sale of their bodies.

"By raising awareness through what we were saying, changing people's minds and secondly every sale that they do not make results in less animals being murdered."

She added: "I wasn't intentionally trying to damage anything."

Her solicitor said Roffey had made sure to smear the blood in places that would normally have been cleaned.

Sentencing Roffey, Judge Kelly said: "Not withstanding the fact that the mixture was flour, water and food dye... the damage need not be permanent in order to be criminal.

"I am absolutely sure that Miss Roffey intended that damage.

"I find that Miss Roffey's purposes was to raise awareness and attract publicity for her cause but that these purposes are too far removed from providing the animals' immediate protection.

"I have a lot of respect for a young woman with strong principles which you clearly do but this is not the way to go about it."

Roffey was sentenced for an unrelated assault last week and ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work. The judge added another 60 hours to that for the criminal damage offence.

She was also ordered to pay £50 compensation to McDonald's, costs of £250 and a victim surcharge of £85.

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