An animal rights activist from Solihull has been given a suspended prison sentence for his part in a group's intimidation of companies linked to an animal testing lab.
Alfie Fitzpatrick, aged 21, of Knowle Road, received a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years and was ordered to complete 100 hours of community work.
A court heard that Fitzpatrick was only 17 when he was part of the conspiracy. He was educated at the International School in Geneva and is from a wealthy family.
The judge said he was the least involved and passed the suspended sentence. Five other members of the activist group were jailed.
Fitzpatrick and the others waged a wide-ranging international conspiracy of intimidation against a host of supply companies to force the closure of Cambridge-based Huntingdon Life Sciences, Winchester Crown Court heard.
Action carried out included realistic hoax bombs posted to the homes of staff and offices, criminal damage, threats of violence and abusive telephone calls.
Some company directors had leaflets distributed near their home falsely telling neighbours they were convicted paedophiles and others had used tampons sent through the post saying the blood was HIV positive.
Others had words like puppy killer, murderer and scum daubed on their houses, cars or on the roads nearby.
The abuse would only stop when the company issued a capitulation statement and cut links with the lab.
The total cost of damage and increased security costs was £12.6 million, to around 40 companies targeted, the court heard.
Fitzpatrick, along with Jason Mullan, 32, of London, and Nicola Tapping, 29, of Ringwood, Hampshire, all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to harm Huntingdon Life Sciences from 2005 to 2008 under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 by interfering with companies supplying them.
Sarah Whitehead, aged 53, of Littlehampton, Nicole Vosper, of Newquay, Cornwall, and Thomas Harris, 27, of Ringwood, admitted conspiracy to blackmail companies and suppliers linked to the Cambridge-based company between 2001 and 2008.
The rest of the group were sentenced to between six years and 15 months in prison.
The court heard the six had used the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty group as front and were part of a larger conspiracy, with other people having been previously jailed.
Sentencing, the Recorder of Winchester, Judge Keith Cutler, said the well-planned and relentless campaign had been “synonymous with intimidation, violence and terror”.
“The action was taken in order to distress and terrify, and in that you were successful,” he told them.
He said that the lawful activities of SHAC were a “thin veneer” and it was a vehicle for intimidation, even though he accepted the six had a passionate opposition to animal research laboratories and had “fiercely held beliefs”.