Church minister ‘tried to disarm Typhoon’ fighter plane

BAE Systems in Warton
BAE Systems in Warton

A church minister stood in the dock dressed in his dog collar charged with criminal damage at one of the country’s most secure military airfields.

Reverend Daniel Woodhouse, 29, and an alleged accomplice managed to get into the BAE Systems complex at Warton where their mission was to disarm a £64m Typhoon Eurofighter warplane and other military planes being stored in a hangar.

The site designs and builds the planes for RAF use and export to other countries around the world.

Alongside Rev Woodhouse, of Armley Grange Drive, Leeds, at Blackpool Magistrates Court was Samuel Murgatroyd Walton, 31, of Cromwell Road, London.

Both men faces the same two allegations of causing criminal damage of less than £5,000 to BAE’s perimeter fence and causing criminal damage to a hangar door.

After their arrest by police in January both men said they were trying to halt the sale of the planes to Saudi Arabia where they believed they would be used the people of the Yemen.

The duo both pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Prosecutor Jim Mowbray said security staff called police to the hangar.

Magistrates heard that the case would require a four day trial and the defence would be calling witnesses to give evidence about what the planes and their armaments would be used for by the Saudis.

They would use three pronged defence including one in common law that their actions were required to prevent a greater evil.

The minister and Walton were bailed to appear at Burnley Magistrates Court on October 23.

As terms of their bail they must not enter Warton, Samlesbury near Preston and Farnborough where BAE have military bases.