Just Stop Oil activist, 66, denies trespass after Wimbledon ‘court invasion’

William Ward arrives at Westminster Magistrates' Court
William Ward arrives at Westminster Magistrates' Court (l) William Ward on court 18 throwing confetti (r) Credit: PA

A Just Stop Oil protester accused of disrupting a Wimbledon tennis match by throwing orange confetti on the court has denied aggravated trespass.

William Ward, 66, a retired civil engineer from Epsom, Surrey, allegedly invaded Court 18 during the match between Briton Katie Boulter and Australian Daria Saville at around 4.30pm on Wednesday July 5.

Despite agreeing that he threw confetti and scattered jigsaw pieces on the grass, he pleaded not guilty to the charge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Ward, representing himself, challenged prosecutors to prove his intention, their allegations of aggravated trespass, and if his actions disrupted the match.

He denied causing disruption, saying the protest was timed for when the two players were taking a break.

The defendant also disputed that the crowd was hostile towards him, arguing there was a mostly positive reaction.

Ward said he was forcefully dragged off the court by security officials.

On Monday, two other JSO protesters, Deborah Wilde, 68, and Simon Milner-Edwards, 66, both denied aggravated trespass after allegedly disrupting a match between Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov and Japan’s Sho Shimabukuro on Court 18 earlier the same day.

Ward, who was released on unconditional bail, will stand trial alongside them at City of London Magistrates’ Court on November 7.

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