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The Sun (England), December 6, 2013/Daily Mirror, December 6, 2013
A Fathers4Justice campaigner accused of defacing a John Constable masterpiece at the National Gallery, causing £3,300 of damage refused to enter the dock today (Thurs). Paul Manning, 58, is said to have glued a photograph of his son to ‘The Hay Wain’ -one of Britain’s most famous paintings – at the central London gallery on June 28. The defendant dressed in a coat with pictures of his son on it , who allegedly attacked the 1821 oil painting after losing custody rights of his son, refused to enter the dock at Westminster Magistrates’ Court as he is ‘severely deaf’ and would not be able to hear proceedings. But District Judge Howard Riddle said that the court had microphones and ordered him in.
F4C Activist Storms Rugby League World Cup Final
November 30th 2013
Australia v New Zealand World Cup Final
A Valiant Effort by a Lone Activist
Full Report by the activist himself, Anon.
The weather is fine and dry for the last day of November, I’m stuck in crawling traffic on the M60 motorway, Manchester’s outer ring road. I glance across at other vehicles. Lots of cars, all seats occupied, some taxis, full with laughing guys. All going to Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United. It’s not football today. This Saturday their high spirits are from knowing they’re going to watch the Final of the Rugby League World Cup 2013. Australia v New Zealand. The Kiwi’s by virtue of having pipped the England team at the Wembley semi-final.
All these mobile rugby fans can’t guess that they will at some point in the game, also be watching the man who is currently driving the car alongside them. Running like his life depended on getting away from the famous Man Utd. stewards. Life is funny sometimes but I can’t say I’m not nervous at the prospect of doing what I’ve decided to do.
I wonder what this motorway full of people will be thinking when they do see me? Will they be annoyed at some idiot spoiling a crucial part of the game? I hope not. I want to pick my moment at a piece of dead play. I also pray the crowd can see the ‘FATHERS 4 CHILDREN’ motifs in large letters on the F4C Demo Suit.
In an instant I want the crowd to know what I am about.
Booing won’t stop me, or change the merit of my Cause, but it is never good to suffer the displeasure of a capacity crowd at a Premier League football ground.
‘Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune, ‘
We will see what the day brings.
I park some way from the ground and try negotiate a maze of Stretford streets. Finally I ask directions from three uniformed soldiers striding purposely down a side street. It turns out they are going to the stadium themselves. I dutifully fall in but am hoping they’re not pitch-side security. They are big and wide . An hour later I will see these soldiers as part of the detail unfurling the two massive national flags during the opening ceremony. Just now though they are directing me up a walkway from the street. It brings me out at the south end of the Stretford Stand.
I enter at gate N49 and make my way up the stairs into the North West quadrant of the gigantic stadium. Coming through the short tunnel into the light I am struck by the shear size of the space in front of me. This is my first time in the world famous ‘Theatre of Dreams’. It is absolutely stunningly big, the people in the stands on the opposite side look tiny in the distance. Too far away to ever share the experience of the thousands of people on this side, but they will, when all eyes are focused on the green in the middle of the amphitheatre. Only half an hour from kick-off and it is thronged to it’s full capacity of 76,000 seated people. My ticket is for the N1413 seating area and I’m pleased to see that the Row 12 Seat 13 is only two seats from the aisle with steps running down to the pitch.
Just part of 76,000 people
I sit down to take stock of the position. Getting seated is in itself not simple. I am wearing the F4C Demo Suit under my clothes. I have football shorts and a tea shirt first, then a fleece hoody, then the full length demo suit, then to cover all the F4C logos, a pair of hiking trousers and a hooded jacket. The fleece hoody has the Fathers4Children.com flag folded tightly in its front pouch. The extending pole for the flag takes the form of three 2ft lengths of fibreglass tent pole. I’m carrying these down my left side, held at the bottom in my front trouser pocket then running up in front of my left chest and, at the top, tucked in my jacket shoulder, above my collar bone. Standing upright it is OK, sitting down there is a danger of the poles rocking sideways, one end ramming out of the left side of my pocket and the top jabbing under the chin.
I’m the first to occupy the row of 15 seats, third seat in. Can I be lucky enough to find the whole row is no show? No, a young boy arrives with his dad to take the aisle seats, then shortly after a group of drinking lads come back from the bar with bottles of lager. Myself and the father and son have to tip our seats back and stand to allow the fella’s along the row. We sit again and watch the opening ceremonies.
I spend my time surveying the route down onto the pitch. Down five concrete steps where the route divides either side of a lower tunnel back into the stand. Then maybe another dozen steps down to the first of two pitch-side barriers, then a gap of 3 metres to the last barrier and the pitch. Not too bad then, apart from having a neon coated steward stood between the barriers and facing directly up the stairs looking at the crowd. That’s not good. He is directly in my path to the pitch. He seems to be staring straight at me. He can’t be of course, I’m 100 feet up in the stand, it’s just my nervous paranoia, but I still try to be discrete about the focus of my attention.
I lift my eyes to notice more of these neon yellow clad stewards dotted all over the stadium, there is one every 30 metres round the pitch between the barriers. Then in twos they stand on the stairs up the stands just at the entrance tunnels.
We watch half an hour of music and pyrotechnics, with a row of 30 cheer leaders dancing on the touch line. Then the teams come out and we get to see the Haka from the Kiwi’s. Impressive stuff. But I notice a big problem. The cheerleaders are coming off the field through a gate in the black plastic barrier to the pitch. Now they’re sitting in a long row just over the first barrier right at the bottom of my route to the pitch.
If I leap that fence, I’m going to land right on top of them. Not good PR to injure a young cheerleader and definitely against the F4C Prime Directive – ‘Harm No Living Thing’.
I spend another few minutes working out other options to solve the problem.
The game begins and my problem is solved when I notice that the stewards between the barriers have sat down facing the pitch. Obviously the one at the bottom of my steps now has his back to me.
The Aussies score a try and in the dead time between it and the conversion, the stewards all pop up and take their original places facing the crowd. So those periods are the ones they expect problems from the crowd. After the conversion, klaxon’s sound, and the stadium speakers play celebratory music, normal play resumes and the stewards all sit down again. Now I know a Try must not occur just as I’m on my final run down to the pitch. If one does, the last steward will pop up facing me like a jack-in-the-box.
I spend the first half of the game working out what is going on with the stewards as different parts of the game are played. My original plan, to use non live play time as an opportunity to get on the pitch, is no longer viable, now that I see the stewards are on alert then.
There is the constant interruption of the drinking lads on my right pushing past to get to the toilet or the bar for more beer. One trip obviously feeding the other.
The young lad to my left is not looking happy, he is about 11 years old and he and his dad have been shouting for the Kiwis. The game is not going well for them. I have also caught him a couple of times with the hidden tent poles as we stood up and sat down for the bar bound lager lads. They too are not happy with the Kiwis losing, but they demonstrate it with liberal use of expletives. I think F’ing and C’ing is out of order with a young lad so near.
In view of my intentions to potentially halt the game, I feel a little pre-action PR is appropriate.
I try to commiserate with the dad over the kids head, I say I think the Kiwis may have had a far harder semi-final. I don’t think father and son feel like talking, but that may be because they assume I am part of the lager lads group on the other side of me.
I have definitely worked out that it’s not feasible to get prepared for the run in my cramped seat. I need to have more space and sufficient time to do all I need to do without anyone seeing my F4C Demo Suit.
The first half ends and in the interval I have time to fully scout out my options, First I go back up stairs and into the tunnel I arrived through, leading down some steps to a large area with toilets and a bar to the right, the bar is so large there are half a dozen police standing observing the queues to it.
No good. I backtrack out into the stadium, back down passed my seat and into the stand tunnel half way to the pitch. This one is more promising. It turned sharp right and out into a smaller bar area, with a gents toilet immediately to the right. Backtracking again I count the stewards en route to the pitch. One in the bend of the tunnel, two at the exit of the tunnel to the stadium, down the steps to pitch-side barriers and the last one between the barriers. Four in all. They all looked handy, probably their night jobs are on the doors of clubs.
As I stand at the bottom of the steps at pitch side. I take some photos of the stadium, noting the height of the barriers and if there are any useful steps to launch from. Interesting that the first three seats right at the front on the left are covered. They’re not in use. I can see the possibilities. That’s it the decision is made. That is this man’s route out of the ground, no way am I leaving the same way as the other 76,000 spectators
I have a brief chat with the barrier steward, just to find out if he is friendly.
He is, I hope that would mean he won’t go overboard if he has to tackle me.
Two views (combined) from the corner at the bottom of the steps. The black fence on the left picture is the last one I leap onto the pitch. On the right view are TV and Press cameras. note the steep slope from the gulley onto the pitch.
Mid-conversation, I feel a big blow to my back, I stumble forward into the barrier. Damn! Has a steward seen my demo suit under my jacket? The steward in front of me laughs, I turn round to see a giant inflatable rugby ball blocking the stairs behind me. It has bounced down the stand helped on it’s way by hundreds of hands. The guy in an aisle seat hoists it up and helps it on it’s way. I feel the tingle of adrenalin fizzing out of my veins. As I walk back up to my seat my leg muscles feel weak. I hope they work when I really need them to.
As I take my seat, the 2nd half of the game begins. It doesn’t get any better for the Kiwi’s and the rest of my seating row. The drinking lads are so p’d off, they get up and go to the bar en masse. Shame they are bored with losing, they will miss the action I’m going to bring to the game. I on the other hand am beginning to buzz with excitement…. and nerves. I look up at the stands around the ground, packed with thousands and thousands of people. Wow! Am I really going to do this?
This is a crazy thing for a sober man to do. Won’t it just be better to arrange a visit to see my MP and ask him to write a letter to someone? Then I think. How many of this throng are good fathers like me who had to beg a Family Court to have family time with their own children?
I glance at the guy and his son to my side, this is Saturday. Is it his court allocated family time?
Is he worried that his son, a Kiwi fan, is having a disappointing time with his dad on the one day a week they are allowed to get together?
I think of the judge in my case piously stating that she knows I am a loving father. But then heavily restricting my ‘contact’ with my children. ‘Contact!’ I hate the words they use to describe my precious family time with my children. I also remember that I know a 12 person Jury would never do what that ‘Family Law Insider’ Judge Matthews has done to my family with her feeble justifications.
No more letters! Fathers have spent 30 years writing letters to MPs and still nothing has changed. It’s time we all got together and started fighting back. The next ten minutes are going to be my contribution to getting things started.
I turn to the father and son and ask them to let me out, as they stand I say that I don’t think the Kiwis are going to get back into the game, but maybe something interesting will happen.
I descend the stairs and turn into the dogleg tunnel. The steward in the tunnel looks at his watch, he also looks bored. I smile at how interesting things are going to get for him in the next five minutes. I pass by and make my way into the toilet. The middle cubicle is empty, shutting the door behind me I open my jacket and get out the fibreglass poles. I click and tape them together.
I’m conscious that at six feet the whole pole is clattering on the tiles as I thread the five foot banner flag on. No stopping, I’m committed now, just get on and deliver the goods. I take off my running shoes, take my over-trousers off and role them into the fleece front pocket vacated by the flag. Refitting my trainers I double-knot the laces ready for the run of my life.
I hear voices outside the cubicle.
Taking my V4Vendetta mask out of my demo suit I put it on my face, check the elastic is tight over my ears, then swing it up onto the top of my head and pull the demo suit hood over it. With my jacket back on, all that I have showing is my demo suit legs and the flag. I loosely roll the flag around the pole and take a few moments to collect my thoughts.
I need to be on auto pilot for this. Commit commit commit.
The Script is played in my head: Get on the pitch as quickly and quietly as possible hoping to catch the stewards asleep. Pull my mask down, run, run, run, unfurl the flag and keep running to the middle of the pitch. All I need to be successful is 10 seconds on camera. 20 seconds would be great. 30 seconds a dream. International Live TV! Thousands and thousands of fathers all given hope that someone is on their side and fighting back.
Big breath, no time for nerves now, Commit! Commit! Commit!
I open the cubicle door and a young dad and his little boy are waiting outside, they look surprised, no time for explanations or apologies. I walk briskly out of the toilets and turn left into the tunnel to deal with the first steward at the right angle corner. Luck is on my side, my view of the steward is blocked by a man who is walking along in front of me, better still he is asking a question of the steward. The steward is conflicted, he is aware I am carrying something in my right hand stretching up alongside my head, but he is dealing with the question, I pass them both at the corner and see the backs of the two stewards in the tunnel entrance.
Three fast strides and an ‘excuse me’ as I get to them, I’m pleased my voice sounds calm, betraying no nerves. They dutifully part in the middle and I walk through into the light. Striding down the stairs quickly, not running, creating space efficiently between me and the two stewards whose eyes I feel boring into the back of my demo suit hood.
My own eyes are fixed on the last steward at the bottom of the stairs. Great! His back is to me. I hear a late echo of my ‘excuse me’ from one of the tunnel-end stewards behind me. His voice is not calm, it’s a shout, followed quickly by an Oi! Oi! Oi!
I break into a run. The game is afoot! The hounds are loose! I’m on my way!
Down the last three wide stairs I engage my pre-planning. I throw the furled flag under arm, like a jabbing spear, out over the two barriers and onto the pitch One more stride and I am over the first barrier, I turn left away from my seated steward and to regain speed for the leap over the last barrier.
The crowd begins to shout, it doesn’t begin in ones and twos nearest me, it is an almost simultaneous thousand by thousand exclamation, rising to a peak in a second. The next steward along, a lady, has already been alerted by the shouts and has turned and is making for me.
I don’t have time to do anything other than jump and throw my upper body over the barrier and crash down into the trench on the other side. I leap up and run, pushing hard, I feel the steep slope of the pitch edge slowing my efforts. I spot the flag above me on the pitch, pull my mask down, spot it again, through the eye slots of the mask.
I slip my jacket off as I climb up, The crowd roar is reaching a second peak. I then run stooping, to snatch up the flag, two more strides, my mind registers the need to unfurl the flag to achieve my ten second target and Bang! For the second time today a blow to my lower back, sends me crashing to the turf. I land heavily, the right side of my head is rammed into the ground. I don’t see clearly for the next minute. I hear the roar of the crowd subside into a groan of disappointment. A woman’s voice from the front of the Stretford stand shouts angrily “Let him go!”
In my head I give thanks to this nice lady. The stewards around me don’t listen to her, I’m frog marched with my hands held in arm locks. Nothing excessive or painful, these lads are good at the job.
I don’t resist, but my mask has twisted and I can’t see my way ahead. I’m telling them I can’t see my way as we whoosh down corridors, they let me free a hand and I lift the mask, rugby fans, male and female, are passing the other way, they look shocked and concerned at our passing.
An angry man’s face appears in front of me, a voice behind me asks him “where do you want him?” A quick remembrance of something I’d read about Man Utd. Securities summary justice flicked through my mind. I am relieved to hear angry man reply. “Straight to the Police room, let them deal with him.”
Ten strides later I’m stood at a tiny booking-in desk at the front of a mini police station within the Stretford Stand. There is a uniformed sergeant and a man in a smart suit who I presume is an officer. A uniformed constable comes my side of the desk, he gives me antiseptic wipes and a sticking plaster to put on the torn ring finger on my left hand.
My identity is checked with the credit card in my wallet. I am then told they have to find out from the stewards the circumstances of the incident and if any offence has been committed by me. Any damage to the ground or injury to staff.
The suited man also asks about F4C, is it a splinter group of F4J? How long has it been going? What do the colours of the flag mean? How high up in the group am I? What does F4C want?
I simply say, I will answer questions about my identity and address but I can’t help them with any other questions they have. They should look at the web site if they want information on F4C, the facts are all there.
They allow me to change out of my F4C Demo Suit, take photos’ of it and the F4C flag. Then they give me some water and even offered to get me a pie. My flag and jacket are returned from the pitch together with the news I have committed no damage or injury. I’m allowed to leave and told not to try get back in the ground.
I get out of the stadium before the end of the game, so enjoy a solitary walk back to the car. It all seems like it was a dream, but looking at the Demo suit under my arm I could see the rips from being dragged about and the green stains of Old Trafford’s expensive grass. Yes it did happen.
I am annoyed that I didn’t get further onto the pitch and survive to my target ten seconds. Perhaps with some close support to block/distract the stewards I could have made it longer. Or if I’d thrown the flag pole more to the left away from the stewards quick-entry gate, I could have gotten a few strides ahead of them and made a chase of it.
But what-ifs won’t do…….. nice try but no banana!
But at least I tried.
That in itself is a success. I’m a father who got out there an did some action in the real world.
I’m now an F4C ACTIVIST.
Looking for the positives, I enjoyed the whole planning and delivery of the action. I learned a lot for next time and it shows what can be achieved if fathers get away from their depression and computers.
This was just one man with a plan.
What could many men with a plan achieve?
Battle Scarred but Ready
Post Script: Watching the game on BBC’s iPlayer, I see that it was unlucky that a video-replay happen right when I got on the pitch. The audio of the live game keeps playing over the replay, so at least the crowd roar is heard of my run. Then there is just a shot of stewards running across to bounce me.
Nice that at least the stewards got on the telly though, they were fair enough with me.
I just wish they’d eaten more pies.
Paul Manning’s trial is Thursday 5 December. Westminster Magistrates court it is crucial that he has the support he deserves for standing up for all separated parents and their children
‘All I want for Christmas is to see my son, Elliott, I feel that the only way to get that gift is by protesting in a very loud and provocative manner, even if that doesn’t work I’m still going to try, or die doing it. Santa, can I have a huge sock with my son in it please? I promise to clean the chimney for you, I really promise!’
‘Elliott Manning, seen below, is my 11 year old son who I have not seen for 3 years. I was forced to super glue a photo of him to the famous Constable painting that is called “The Hay Wain”, last June.
The powers that be and the UK family courts believe that a painting is more important and valuable than a child seeing and having a relationship with me his own father, I the parent that cared for him as his main carer from birth. I am still in the process of being prosecuted for criminal damage to the artwork and yet I truly believe that it is not I that should be prosecuted but the judges of the secret family courts, The uncaring judges at the appeal courts who haven’t an idea what is taking place to the children who lose contact with their fathers. Yes it is the monsters at Cafcass who lied and cheated and took great pleasure in torturing me and Elliott as they gleefully kept us apart, it is all these that should face prosecution. As for me, I am an innocent father who was placed in a position where I had to make my point somehow, to make them notice me and Elliott. You see there is one thing these evil people do not take into consideration about me, and that is my DEEP love for Elliott, they can’t destroy it no matter what they do, no matter if they jail me or torture me further. Love can never ever be destroyed, not for our children it can’t, not for Elliott and never will. I love you my son. Your Dad. xx’
Do we really need an International Men’s Day?
Not everyone will take it seriously, but the ideas behind International Men’s Day are very serious indeed, says Glen Poole
You probably don’t know it, but today – November 19th – is International Men’s Day.
For most men in the UK, the day will probably pass without much fanfare – nobody will buy you a card, or give you the day off work, or greet you with a cheery, “Hey, you’re a man, Happy International Men’s Day, mate!”
If you do hear anyone mention the day at all, then it’s likely that the words will be uttered with either weary bemusement; fake ”LMAO” hilarity or the utter contempt of “Isn’t every day International Men’s Day?”
So do we really need an international day for men? In a world where us chaps are still running politics, business, religion, media and sport, it seems only fair that the ladies have had their own international day for over a century, but for the men to muscle in with a day of their own day, well, it’s not very gentlemanly, is it?
And yet all is not well in the state of “Man Land”.
We know that men in the UK are still dying four years sooner than women, on average; that 12 men each day take their own lives; that 90% of rough sleepers are men; that 95% of the prison population is male; that seven out of ten murder victims are male; that girls are outperforming boys at every stage of education; that women are a third more likely to go to university than men; that young men account for 70% of long-term youth unemployment; that male graduates are 50% more likely to be unemployed; that men in their twenties are earning less than their female peers; that 96% of people who die at work are male and that men accounted for 84% of suicides linked to the recession.
If women and girls were experiencing any one of those problems at the rate that men and boys are, it would be grounds for an international day in its own right – so why are we so indifferent to the various problems that are more likely to impact the male half of the population?
It seems that both women and men are more comfortable aligning themselves with campaigns to help the “sisterhood”, whereas nobody wants to be seen taking the “brotherhood” too seriously.
Over the years, there have been some interesting tactics employed to highlight men’s issues. When fathers’ rights campaigners tried to emulate the Suffragettes and chain themselves to the railings at Buck House (for example), nobody paid much attention, but stick a dad in an ill-fitting Batman costume and plonk him and the Palace balcony and the whole world starts talking about separated dads. It seems that to get people talking about men’s issues, you have to be prepared to look silly.
Take the recent hair-raising success of Movember for instance. All over the country – and around the world – men are raising millions of pounds for prostate cancer research by doing little more than resisting the temptation to shave their top lip for a month. It’s an unavoidably public way of saying “look at me, I’m making a difference for my fellow man, feel free to poke fun at my magnificent Mo, just as long as you stick a tenner in the charity pot while you’re at it.”
So why hasn’t this self-deprecating approach worked for other important men’s issues? Maybe it’s because they don’t lend themselves so well to mass, jolly fundraisers. Maybe it’s the simple fact that men and women are uncomfortable talking about the many different issues that affect men and boys disproportionately – that alone is reason enough to have an International Men’s Day.
This year the day has inspired people around the country to hold events which include a special meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Fatherhood in Westminster; a public debate about men and violence in Preston and the Guardian journalist Ally Fogg raising money for male victims of sexual abuse by staying silent for the day – a move that has delighted both his fans and critics in equal measure.
If you don’t normally talk about “men’s issues”, then today is the perfect opportunity to stick this article under the nose of every man you know and ask him what he thinks. Do it now, before your one-track mind wanders elsewhere, because despite what the cynics might tell you, not every day is International Men’s Day.
Protests from groups such as Fathers4Justice were more of a worry to London 2012 Olympic Games organisers than computer hackers, according to the former chairman of London 2012, Lord Sebastian Coe.
He said procedures put in place before the Games to guard its IT systems – including Wi-Fi networks in stadiums as well as the main Olympics website – had worked well.
In practice, risks from pressure groups and local political campaigners proved the biggest headache but precautions against all types of threat had to be prepared, he noted.
“You have to deliver the Games within an environment of security,” Coe said in response to questions about anti-aircraft missiles on tower blocks in East London and armed police on the street. “Protection has to be proportionate but I think we got the balance right.
“The threats of disruption came from everything from Fathers4Justice through to taxi drivers, angry they weren’t allowed into the Olympic lanes. That tended to be the level of the threat. Most of the challenges weren’t terrorists, cyber or otherwise,” said Coe, who was speaking at the RSA Conference Europe 2013 which took place in Amsterdam this week.
Fathers4Justice are a fathers’ rights campaign group whose signature form of protest involves scaling buildings while dressed as comic book superheroes.
A FATHERS’ rights campaigner from South Yorkshire accused of vandalising a John Constable masterpiece at London’s National Gallery will not be tried by a jury – because the attack caused only £3,300 worth of damage.
Paul Manning, 57, was yesterday due to plead to a charge of criminal damage at Southwark Crown Court but the case was sent back to magistrates’ court for trial after Judge Alistair McCreath queried the bill for cleaning up the artwork.
Manning, a Fathers4Justice campaigner from Kirkstone Road, Sheffield, faced one count of damaging property after a four-inch photo of a young boy was glued to The Hay Wain in June.
Judge McCreath said the cost of the damage had been £3,346, causing curators to bring forward a planned restoration, rather than the previous estimate of £30,000. He said: “I’m simply quashing the indictment. End of. The matter must take its course elsewhere.”
The case will now be sent to Westminster Magistrates’ Court. Manning told a public gallery packed with Fathers4Justice campaigners: “I want to thank you all for coming.”
Constable’s painting shows an idyllic rural scene with a cart in the River Stour in Suffolk.
Motorists travelling on the M5 faced lengthy delays after a man, dressed as spiderman, scaled a bridge in a Fathers4Justice protest. Police closed junction 25 at Taunton after the man, who it is understood is in his 30s and from the Wellington area, climbed the bridge over the motorway at around 8.20am. The incident caused tailbacks of over one mile in both directions on the M5 and motorists were forced to follow diversions.
It is believed to be Michael Waldron, 30, from Wellington who is threatening to jump if approached.
He is being denied access to his 10-year-old son who lives in Taunton by his ex-partner. Tragically as a child he was denied access to his own father by his mother.
He said “The lack of a father figure and male role model has had a huge impact on my life. I missed out on so many things in my life and now my son is having to go through the same thing due to this Government’s policy on child contact. They are failing children by preventing them from having contact with loving fathers. We must force change so that my son will not have to go through this same trauma in years to come”
A spokeperson from Fathers4justice said: “Taunton MP Jeremy Browne Minister of State for Crime Prevention should be concerned that children from fatherless homes are much more likely to be involved in crime, be involved with drugs or become pregnant. They should give fathers a presumption of contact after family breakdown so Britain has a chance to stop these ever increasing consequences.
“Seventy per cent of young offenders come from lone-parent families. One in four secondary school pupils now has a criminal record. Britain has the highest level of self-harming in Europe. The UK has the highest proportion of children living in workless households in Europe. The teenage pregnancy rate in the UK is the highest in the developed world and four times higher than the West European average.
“Dads in the South West are angry with the Government’s broken promise to give fathers a presumption on contact after family breakdown. The Severn Crossing or the Tamar Bridge could be next as fathers step up direct action.”
The spokesperson added: “Fathers4Justice called on fathers to take independent weekly direct action in an attempt to defend themselves and the 1,000 families a week destroyed in the secret family courts. We’d like nothing more than to be simply with our families, and happy in the knowledge our children would grow up with equal rights, but until anything is done – this is the only way anyone takes any notice of our message.”