By Jane Barribal at http://www.farmtalking.com
I have just spoken on the telephone to Carolyn Hoffe for the first time since her sheep were murdered. Although I had tried to call her before, her number was always engaged. On this bright and sunny Sunday morning, I got through. After I offered my few pathetic words of heartfelt condolence for her loss, she told me what had happened. The horror I had felt knowing that the Court Judgment gave her leave to Appeal but then issued an immediate destruction order for her sheep, was mind numbing. However, it bears no comparison to the utter shock, dismay and fear that I now feel, having heard from Carolyn what actually happened.
Carolyn lives in a house called Appleby Row and her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Allen, in Appleby Row Cottage, a former holiday home next door. There had been considerable coverage of her plight by the media and as we know Carolyn had locked her front door to protect her animals and she and her parents were only accessing her house through an interconnecting door between their homes, using the entrance to her parent's Cottage, via a small utility room, to go in and out.
Yesterday afternoon as the Vets and Valuers, Police and Army arrived, Carolyn's friend, Pam Groves, wearing a white body suit, was allowed to go into the Cottage to be with Carolyn.
Carolyn's Mother saw a white suited figure approaching the house, seemingly alone. Pamela called to her through the door to identify herself and Carolyn asked her Mother to let her in. As she entered, a large policeman suddenly appeared and pushed her roughly from behind into the 70 year old, Barbara. The Policeman was immediately followed by the Vet, Vikki Cleghorn, she grabbed the elderly lady's arm as she tried to close the door. Carolyn's Mother screamed, and another Policeman, Vet and Valuer were in the house in seconds. A third policeman attempted to enter followed by Ghurka soldiers, but Barbara said, 'No! no! you can't come in!' , so they stopped and the Ghurkas immediately withdrew. The first Policeman to enter was Chief Inspector McCloud. He rushed into the house and threw open a bedroom door, believing it to be the one that connected to Carolyn's home. Her Father, Douglas, 65, remonstrated with him 'This is my home!' he said, 'This is private property! You're in the wrong house!' The Inspector replied, 'No it isn't. all this house belongs to Carolyn Hoffe and I have a right, I can go anywhere!' 'No you can't!' said her Father, 'This is our home, we pay rent!' The inspector took no notice. He tried another door and found it locked, 'Give me the key!' he demanded as he grabbed at the handle, and then to Douglas he said, 'Anymore out of you and I'll arrest you!'.
Douglas asked him if he had a Warrant, and he said they had, but failed to produce it. Vikki Cleghorn muttered that they were acting in accordance with the Animal Health Act 1981.
Police Inspector, Mr. McCloud, then demanded that the interconnecting door be unlocked immediately, saying, 'If you don't, I'll kick it in and it looks quite new to me, afterwards it won't be a pretty sight!' Carolyn's Mother was screaming and her Father arguing with the Police as best he could. The family's pet cats were fleeing in terror while a rescued rabbit was traumatized in its hutch. Carolyn was incensed with anger but gripped with fear by this invasion of her parent's home and the intimidation and threats being issued. Seeing the mounting distress in her Mother she feared for her well being and finally relented and agreed to unlock the door.
Her brave friend Pamela and her Father went into Carolyn's home and accompanied by Vet Martin Peatie and the Police. All too soon, the evil deed was done. Carolyn had forbidden Vikki Cleghorn, more police and the army personnel to enter and for once they acceded to her wishes.
Both her Father and Pamela Groves, were wearing microphones attached to them by the media, so recorded evidence is available.
Carolyn tells me that she is consulting with her lawyers and expects charges to be brought on behalf of herself and her parents.
It is my fervent hope that the end result will be the most severe sentencing of those who are guilty, The Police who seem to have flagrantly abused their powers. Not only failing to produce either a Warrant or Court Order but also having caused criminal damage and used language threatening to cause extreme damage to private property. Also including, Vikki Cleghorn for daring to assault an elderly woman in her own home, should hang her head in shame. Not only for the action described but also for breaking the Veterinary oath, sworn by Vets on qualification.
I had hoped that a world famous journalist would retell this part of Carolyn's story, but he has told me that after many weeks recording the horrors of the Foot and Mouth saga in the U.K. for a National paper, he is so appalled by the continued persecution of innocent healthy animals and their owners, that he plans to leave the Country as soon as possible.
For him this is no longer a green and pleasant land.
He urged me to do the same. Not understanding why I had chosen to make my home in Scotland, a Country where he said the people seemed prepared to put up with a fascist Police State, where the Court's attitude is one of complicity with the illegal policies of the Labour Government. Where the manner in which branches of MAFF, aided and abetted by the NFU, are operating the most evil scorched earth policy with no regard for the Law and the Civil liberties of its people. The Scots deserve it he said.
I am extremely sorry that he has made this decision and come to those conclusions. I have only lived in Scotland for the past two years but I have made many friends and I know there are many Scots who abhor what is being perpetrated in their land today. I will not leave the Country or give up the fight for what I believe to be right and I am sure that every day more and more brave hearted Scots will join me in my efforts to ensure that there are no more of them who will suffer the injustice meted out to Carolyn, her family and 'friends'.