Animal Rights Extremist Jailed in the UK

Animal rights extremist Sonia Hayward, 35, was sentenced in March to 15 months in jail after pleading guilty to charges of destruction of property and harassment.

The charges stemmed from two separate incidents from different animal rights campaigns.

The more serious crime, which drew a 15 month sentence, was that Hayward drove an accomplice to the home of Timothy Allington at least twice so that the accomplice could throw rocks and bricks at the windows. Allington was so concerned about his safety that he hired private security guards and had a security system installed in his house.

Not surprisingly, Hayward seems to have targeted Allington on bad information. She incorrectly believed that Allington, who used to be the managing director of a pharmaceutical firm, was somehow connected to Huntingdon Life Sciences. The story of Hayward’s capture is somewhat amusing. One of the bricks that was thrown at the Allington’s home had a piece of paper tied around it, presumably with a written message. The only problem as the paper this braintrust used was her own gas bill, which made tracking her down relatively easy.

Hayward also drew a 2 month sentence for a campaign of harassment she carried out against female hunters during the summer of 2001. Hayward compiled the names and phone numbers of seven female members of three hunt clubs, and then created what the Press Association described as “prostitute calling cards” listing the women’s personal information. Hayward then left the cards in phone booths, and some of the women received phone calls from men soliciting sex based on the cards.

Police discovered sheets of uncut cards when they raided her home in August 2001 as part of their investigation of the property damage at Allington’s home.

Her two prison sentences will run concurrently and she will likely be out of jail sometime in July 2003. In sentencing her, Judge David Mitchell said,

This was a campaign against Mr. Allington in the mistaken belief that he had some connection with Huntingdon Life Sciences. It shows how people who take matters into their own hands can be gravely mistaken.

A person is entitled to feel safe in his or her home. If a person cannot feel safe in his or her own home, where can they feel safe?

Mr. Allington suffered such a nervous worry for himself and his family that he was in constant fear of attack. You are just as guilty as the person who got out and threw the rocks.

The Press Association story on the sentencing did not mention the status of the investigation of the person who threw the rocks. Judge Mitchell did warn Hayward that any future arrests for animal rights-related crimes would likely bring her a longer sentence (we can only hope).

That could prove a problem as Haward has a history of being arrested at animal rights protests. She was arrested and fined 120 pounds in 2000 after being arrested at a protest at a facility that raised monkeys for medical research.


Animal activist jailed for harassment campaign. Simon Baker, The Press Association, March 20, 2003.

Case against photographer is dropped. Phil Dennett, This is Mid Sussex, October 6, 2000.

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