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Farmer who damaged GM crops 'prepared to die' for his cause

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 14, 2012

Hector Christie

A farmer fined for criminal damage at a genetically modified crop trial has told how he intends to go on hunger strike if he is locked up for not paying a fine which he disputes.

Hector Christie, 51-year-old tenant of the Torridgeside estate at Tapeley Park, near Instow in North Devon, said he was prepared to die for

his cause against GM crops.

He was ordered by magistrates in Hertfordshire to pay almost £4,000 compensation for pulling up some genetically modified wheat plants owned by agricultural research organisation Rothamsted.

But Mr Christie, who keeps a small herd of Highland cattle and maintains sustainable and organic enterprises at Tapeley, said he had pulled up only a few plants and was prepared to pay only for what he damaged.

As a result, he is expecting bailiffs to visit his home near Bideford to try to take anything they can find that might belong to him.

“The next thing will be bailiffs that come to see what they can get. But nothing in the house belongs to me,” he said.

Tapeley is part of the Christie Estate, a trust that includes Braunton Burrows and land around Instow, among other holdings.

It contains some of the finest examples of William Morris furniture, but Hector Christie said nothing can be taken because it all belongs to the Christie Estate, not to him personally.

He said he owns very little that can be seized and so has had to plan for time in prison.

“If I go down for a fine I will go on hunger strike until they drop the charges against my completely innocent friends.

“Some have been served with High Court injunctions preventing them from doing certain things.

“I’m prepared to die for this. I’ve built myself up for it. I’ve only got one crack at this.

“I will only break the hunger strike if these charges are dropped and if David Cameron says GM crops will never be grown on these shores. I really mean it. I don’t know where the strength comes from.”

He admitted his children, 21-year-old Bessie and 19-year-old Archie, were worried about him, but said he was determined to go through with his protest.

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