Ten people charged following protests at delayed Grand National 2023

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Roads were blocked and animal rights activists breached security fences at Aintree Racecourse.

Ten people have been charged following protests on the day of the 2023 Grand National, which had a delayed start after animal rights activists invaded the course.

Concurrent with the invasion on Saturday 15 April, a number of demonstrators sabotaged access to the event by blocking the M57 and Wango Lane near Aintree Racecourse.

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The protests occurred around the same time the race was scheduled to start at 5.15pm. The Grand National was delayed by 14 minutes after a number of protesters from Animal Rising made their way onto the track.

Merseyside Police have confirmed that nine people involved in blocking junction 2 of the M57 and access to Wango Lane have been charged with wilful obstruction of a highway:

  • Sarah Love, 47, of no fixed abode

  • Zoe Able, 27, of Leeders Pightle, in Norfolk

  • Lucia Alexander, 40, of no fixed abode

  • Jamie Carter, 29, of no fixed abode,

  • Elenor Kenny, 19, of no fixed abode

  • Tobias Brown, 49, of West Wycombe Road, High Wycombe

  • James Kelly, 46, of Mornant Avenue, Hartford, in Northwich

  • Andrew Houghton, 66, of Mendip Crescent, Bedford

  • Rosa Sharkey, 23, of Chase Side Avenue, Enfield

A tenth person, John Edwards, 49, of Cox Road, Alresford, Colchester, has been charged with stopping/causing a vehicle to remain at rest on a carriageway of motorway. They have all been released on bail and due to attend various courts on either Wednesday 22 November or Wednesday 20 December.

An animal rights protester is apprehended by police officers ahead of the Grand National. An animal rights protester is apprehended by police officers ahead of the Grand National.
An animal rights protester is apprehended by police officers ahead of the Grand National. | AFP via Getty Images

The protest that occurred on the racecourse on Saturday 15 April is still under investigation. As the National runners were in the parade ring, a number of activists breached security fences around the venue and ran onto the track.

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Detective Chief Inspector Ben Dyer said: “Merseyside Police respects the right to a peaceful protest and expression of views, but criminal behaviour and disorder will never be tolerated. Our investigation into the protest on the racecourse at Aintree on Saturday 15 April remains ongoing and if you have any information, please get in touch.”

Corach Rambler eventually won the marquee Grand National steeplechase but Galashiels-owned horse Hill Sixteen died after breaking his neck in a fall at the first fence. Tarpaulins were brought on to the course to shield the horse.

The ten-year-old, who had completed the course on two previous occasions, became the third horse to die during the three days of the Grand National Festival. It followed the deaths of Dark Raven and Envoye Special earlier on Saturday and on Thursday respectively.

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