Arrest And Charge

In October 1972, following receipt of a dossier from the National Federation of Building Trades Employers (NFBTE), the then Home Secretary, Robert Carr, instructed the Chief Constables of West Mercia and Gwynedd to investigate the events in Shrewsbury. More than two months later, on 14th November 1972, thirty-one pickets were arrested and questioned. They were released without charge. Then, on 14th February 1973, five months after the end of the strike, twenty-four of the pickets were arrested and charged with over 242 offences between them. They included unlawful assembly, affray, intimidation, criminal damage and assault.

The Financial Times dismissed the dodgy dossier of the NFBTE: “This document is itself flawed since it suggests the existence of a sinister plot without being able to substantiate the allegations. Many of the incidents that have been listed seem to be little more than the ordinary spontaneous angry behaviour that might be expected on a building site at any time (and especially during an industrial dispute)….the publication reads more like a politically motivated pamphlet than a serious study.”

Despite all the hostile press coverage during and after the trials not a single picket was convicted of assault.

All 24 pickets were charged with the offence of “intimidation” under section 7 of the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act 1875. These charges were never proceeded with by the prosecution although much of the focus of the campaigning after the convictions was for the repeal of this Act. In reality the far more serious charge, which was confused with the Act, was the common law offence of conspiracy.

The six pickets in the first trial were all charged with ‘conspiracy to intimidate contrary to common law’. This gave the prosecution and the judge the opportunity to impose lengthy prison terms on anyone convicted of conspiring to intimidate. In contrast, the maximum sentence for anyone convicted of actual intimidation contrary to section 7 of the 1875 Act was three months.

The prosecution wanted to criminalise legitimate trade union activity, in particular picketing.

List Of Charges

1st Trial: 3rd October to 19th December 1973

Dennis Michael Warren

  • Conspiracy to Intimidate
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Affray
  • Intimidation
  • Damaging Property
  • Common Assault
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation
  • Threatening to destroy or damage property
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation
  • Damaging Property
  • Damaging Property
  • Intimidation
  • Damaging Property
  • Damaging Property
  • Attempting to damage property
  • Threatening to destroy or damage property
  • Common assault
  • Damaging property
  • Intimidation
  • Attempting to damage property
  • Intimidation
  • Damaging Property
  • Intimidation
  • Damaging property
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation

Eric (Ricky) Tomlinson

  • Conspiracy to Intimidate
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Affray
  • Intimidation
  • Damaging Property
  • Common Assault
  • Intimidation
  • Common Assault
  • Intimidation
  • Damaging Property
  • Intimidation
  • Damaging Property
  • Intimidation
  • Damaging Property
  • Common Assault
  • Damaging Property
  • Assault occasioning actual bodily harm
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation

Kenneth Desmond Francis O’Shea

  • Conspiracy to Intimidate
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Affray
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation
  • Damaging Property
  • Intimidation
  • Using Threatening Words
  • Threatening to destroy or damage property
  • Intimidation

John McKinsie Jones

  • Conspiracy to Intimidate
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Affray
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation
  • Damaging property
  • Damaging Property
  • Damaging Property
  • Intimidation

John Elfyn Llywarch

  • Conspiracy to Intimidate
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Affray
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation

John Carpenter

  • Conspiracy to Intimidate
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Affray
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation
  • Common Assault
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation

2nd Trial: 14 January to 13 February 1974

William Michael Pierce

  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Affray
  • Intimidation
  • Common Assault
  • Common Assault
  • Damaging Property
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation
  • Damaging Property
  • Intimidation
  • Damaging Property
  • Damaging Property
  • Intimidation
  • Using Threatening Words
  • Threatening to destroy or damage property

Samuel Roy Warburton

  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Affray
  • Intimidation
  • Common Assault
  • Damaging Property
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation
  • Damaging Property
  • Damaging Property
  • Damaging Property
  • Damaging Property
  • Common Assault
  • Attempting to damage property
  • Assault occasioning actual bodily harm

Thomas Brian Williams

  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Affray
  • Intimidation
  • Damaging Property
  • Intimidation
  • Damaging Property
  • Assault occasioning actual bodily harm
  • Intimidation
  • Damaging Property
John Malcolm Clee

  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Affray
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation
  • Damaging Property
  • Attempting to damage property
  • Common Assault
  • Attempting to damage property

George Arthur Murray

  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Affray
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation
  • Damaging Property
  • Damaging Property

Dennis Morris

  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Affray
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation
  • Common Assault
  • Common Assault

Alfred James

  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Affray
  • Intimidation
  • Damaging Property

Derek Hughes

  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Affray
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation
  • Damaging Property
  • Common Assault

John Gary Davies

  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Affray
  • Intimidation
  • Damaging Property

3rd Trial: 26 February to 22 March 1974

Terence Renshaw

  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Affray
  • Affray
  • Intimidation
  • Intimidation
  • Damaging Property
  • Intimidation
  • Attempting to damage property

Patrick Kevin Butcher

  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Affray
  • Intimidation
  • Using Threatening Behaviour

William Charles Leslie Hooson

  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Affray
  • Intimidation
  • Damaging Property
  • Intimidation
  • Attempting to damage property

Peter Alfred Sear

  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Affray
  • Intimidation
  • Common Assault
  • Damaging Property
  • Damaging Property
  • Intimidation
  • Damaging Property
  • Intimidation
  • Damaging Property
Thomas Bernard Williams

  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Affray
  • Intimidation
  • Attempting to damage property

Edward Leonard Williams

  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Affray
  • Intimidation
  • Attempting to damage property

Bryn Thomas

  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Affray
  • Intimidation
  • Common Assault
  • Intimidation

Graham Roberts

  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Affray
  • Intimidation
  • Attempting to damage property

John Kenneth Seaburg

  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Affray
  • Intimidation
  • Attempting to damage property
Affiliates