Asa Pryke, has been jailed after he lost his job, ran out of money and moved his family into a field in Essex which had been in his wife’s family for 300 years.
Last week, Asa had written to me saying the risk of a jail sentence was “fading fast” and speaking about Appeal court Judges’ contempt for the local council’s actions against him:
thought I would give an update on our situation. At the court of appeal the judges said that the order as constructed was correct and that our human rights had been considered at the committal hearing. However the two appeal judges did state ‘That on paper the council had indeed obtained what they want,but no judge certainly neither of us (judges) would even implement such a ridiculous request!’ (over a minor infringement that an apology could have settled and prevented this waste of taxpayers money, we had Legal Aid granted because of the threat of imprisonment).
I am as i write (awaiting the outcome of the councils application on the 5th November to obtain arrest warrants for our removal and detention)no such order has been granted. Although with immense stress and anticipation the threat fades daily.regards Asa
Asa, 47, and his wife Gwen, 48, pitched the campsite after their nursery business went bust forcing them to leave their rented home.
But despite the fact that the two-acre plot has been in the Prykes’ family for over 300 years, council chiefs told them they would still need planning permission, even to set up camp.
The couple and their three teenage children turned to the council for help but say they were only offered a flat that was too small to house a family of five.
But a county court judge has now jailed Mr Pryke and also warned his wife that she would be put behind bars for four months if the field is not cleared. The couple were not jailed simultaneously because of their three teenage children.
Speaking before the ruling Mr Pryke, who is was working as a specialist insurance broker until his sentence, said: ‘We are fighting to stay on our land and fighting for what we believe in.
‘This country needs ‘doers’ to get out of the mess it is in, not just people who are happy just to take handouts.
‘We would rather stand on our own feet and live on our land than take taxpayers’ money for housing support.
‘How can making us homeless make any sense when we will be forced to live off state handouts?’
The couple were hoping to get planning permission from Colchester Borough Council for their eco-friendly home.
Mr Pryke added: “We would even be prepared to build one home and then give land away for another for social housing.”
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