[ISN] New Royal Security Breach
isn at c4i.org
Tue Sep 14 05:12:14 EDT 2004
By John-Paul Ford Rojas
13 September 2004
Security chiefs were once again left embarrassed today after a member
of protest group Fathers 4 Justice staged a Buckingham Palace protest
dressed as Batman.
After hurling condoms filled with purple flour at the Prime Minister
in the House of Commons they have now managed to strike at the heart
of the monarchy.
Amid constant warnings of the terrorist threat to the nation this
small group of activists has repeatedly made a mockery of high-profile
The protesters, who want better access rights for fathers, have also
targeted some of Britain's most well-known landmarks.
On Saturday the London Eye was brought to a standstill after it was
scaled by another member of the group dressed as Spider-Man.
The same man, 37-year-old David Chick, staged a six-day crane-top
vigil at London's Tower Bridge last year in protest at being denied
access to his daughter.
The group also targeted the leadership of the Church of England when
they staged a demonstration at the General Synod at York Minster
earlier this year.
Today's protest will prove especially embarrassing coming four months
after after a high-level report recommended better protection for the
The overhaul came after Daily Mirror reporter Ryan Parry infiltrated
Buckingham Palace to work as a footman and led to the appointment of a
new royal security chief, Brigadier General Jeffrey Cook.
The Security Commission report called for wider checks on job
applicants, guests, visitors and contractors with access to royal
residences and warned that weaknesses exploited by the press could
equally be exploited by terrorists.
But only 12 days after it was published there was a fresh scare when a
man was alleged to have been found wandering around the grounds of
Windsor Castle impersonating a police officer.
That was far from the first time there had been an embarrassing royal
security scare with one of the most celebrated recent breaches taking
place at Prince William's 21st birthday party at the castle last year.
A major investigation was launched after "comedy terrorist" Aaron
Barschak gatecrashed the event wearing a dress, beard and sunglasses
before kissing the prince on both cheeks.
The most serious scare came in March 1982 when Michael Fagan broke
into the Queen's bedroom at Buckingham Palace. She woke to find him
sitting on her bed.
A year earlier, Marcus Sarjeant, 17, fired six blank shots at the
Queen at the Trooping the Colour ceremony.
Stephen Goulding was jailed for three months after breaking into the
grounds of Buckingham Palace in 1990. He claimed he was Prince Andrew
Windsor and declared the Queen was his "mum".
In July 1992, Kevin McMahon, 25, was arrested inside the grounds for
the second time in a week. During his first sortie, he forced a
helicopter carrying the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to divert as
he roamed the grounds.
Also in 1992, an intruder walked into St James's Palace and downed a
whisky in Princess Alexandra's private apartment.
A naked paraglider landed on the roof of Buckingham Palace in 1994.
American James Miller was fined £200 and deported.
In 1995, student John Gillard rammed the Palace gates in his car at
50mph, tearing one off its hinges.
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