A student protestor who threw a fire extinguisher from the roof of London’s Milbank Tower – the Conservative headquarters – during a demonstration has been jailed for 32 months.
Edward Woollard was taking part in the student protests against the rise in tuition fees when he hurled the fire extinguisher from the roof of the Tory HQ, narrowly missing police and protestors below.
The extinguisher brushed the leg of one territorial support officer and hit the knees of another.
Today Woollard was sentenced to 32 months for violent disorder in a young offenders institution. He will serve at least half that time.
Woollard confessed throwing the extinguisher to his mum after his face was shown on television coverage of the student protests. His mum encouraged him to hand himself in to police.
Sentencing him, the judge said: “The courts have a duty to provide the community with such protection from violence as they can and this means sending out a very clear message to anyone minded to behave in this way that an offence of this seriousness will not be tolerated.”
Despite saying that he was sorry to see Wollard go to jail, the judge said that he had watched footage of the protest and seen how close the fire extinguisher came to killing someone.
“This heavy fire extinguisher fell terrifyingly close to a group of police officers — just a few feet away,” he said.
“It is, in my judgment, exceedingly fortunate that your action did not result in death or very serious injury either to a police officer or a fellow protester.”
Student Woollard had issued a written statement saying how sorry he is. The teenager’s solicitor said today: “It was a single moment of madness, unplanned and spontaneous.”
Woollard had been studying classics, politics and philosophy at Brockenhurst College.
The students fees protests turned violent when thousands of protestors stormed the Tory HQ Milbank Tower, smashing their way in. Police were outnumbered and unable to control the crowd.
Watch the moment the fire extinguisher was thrown from Milbank Tower.