Copyleft - Information for direct action - Published weekly in Brighton since 1994

Home | Friday 9th January 2009 | Issue 661

Back to the Full Issue


78 year old prisoner Ronnie Easterbrook is now entering the third week of a hunger strike. Already in failing health due to previous protests, this may be his final act against a judicial and penal system that he believes has unjustly imprisoned him for 20 years.

Ronnie was convicted of armed robbery and attempted murder in 1988 after a failed robbery on a wages van. A police informant, Seamus Ray, set the job up and duly tipped off the police. The gang were ambushed by armed police and one was killed. Ronnie, one other robber and a police inspector were wounded. The shoot-out was filmed by a Thames TV crew.

Easterbrook claims the police were operating a "shoot-to-kill" policy, but he was not allowed to use this in his defence. Although he wanted his barrister to focus on police tactics the request was refused on the grounds that a political defence was not permitted - the rules have since changed. He was forced to represent himself, and ended up with a 'whole life' sentence.

Ronnie's tariff has been reduced from whole life to 12 and a half years but he won't apply for parole because he doesn't recognise the legality of his sentence and demands a fresh trial. After 20 years inside (eight years beyond his sentence), in a last desperate bid to draw attention to his case, Ronnie has embarked on what could become a death fast - if the authorities fail to act. His case is not one that attracts automatic sympathy, but at the age of 78 it is time to let him go home to his family.

Send a postcard or letter of support to Ronnie, this will also let the prison authorities know he is not isolated and people are aware of his situation: Ronnie Easterbrook (B58459), HMP Gartree, Gallow Field Road, Market Harborough, Leicestershire, LE16 7RP



Subscribe to SchNEWS: Send 1st Class stamps (e.g. 10 for next 9 issues) or donations (payable to Justice?). Or £15 for a year's subscription, or the SchNEWS supporter's rate, £1 a week. Ask for "originals" if you plan to copy and distribute. SchNEWS is post-free to prisoners.