A Southampton college student has pleaded guilty to violent disorder after throwing a fire extinguisher from the roof of Millbank during the student protests in Westminster a fortnight ago.
Edward Woollard, an 18 year-old student at Brockenhurst College outside the New Forest, appeared before District Judge Evans at Westminster Magistrates this week. His solicitor Matt Foot said: ‘Mr Woollard is pleading guilty and I make it very clear he is very sorry for his actions.’
Woollard, believed to be currently studying Politics, Philosophy and Classics, was charged under the Public Orders Act last week after he handed himself in to Totton police station five days after the nation demo held earlier this month. He was originally arrested for attempted murder after throwing a fire extinguisher from the roof of the Conservative Headquarters in the protest.
47 students from Brockenhurst College attended the march on Wednesday November 10. 17 year-old Sophie Clarke from the college attended the protest. She said: ‘Ed turned up at half 4 when our coach was due to leave…he looked really scared. He said, “God today’s been really hectic. That was really scary and horrible.” He’s not aggressive; I’m genuinely shocked as hell.’
Fellow Brockenhurst College student Charlotte Gardiner was also at the national demo. She said: ‘We were marching but then it got really boring so we went to the pub for a bit, but when we were there we saw what was happening at Millbank on the TV so decided to go back because we thought everyone else would be there too. The only reason we went was because we wanted to burn a flag with Nick Clegg’s face on it.’
Pupils at the college said they would be attending demonstrations organised this week in Bournemouth to continue protesting against the government’s proposed cuts to universities and plans to raise the cap on tuition fees. However, not all were interested as one student said, ‘no, I want to go to the real deal in London.’
Woollard could face up to five years in prison, the maximum sentence for violent disorder.
The case has been committed to Southwark Crown Court in London for sentencing at a later date.