A BBC journalist felt like “prey” as he was chased by protesters at an anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine rally, a courtroom heard.
Nick Watt advised Westminster Magistrates’ Court how he was “very scared” as he was pursued by demonstrators in Whitehall in June 2021.
Footage performed in courtroom confirmed protesters shouting within the face of the Newsnight political editor, who was sporting a BBC lanyard.
He walked away from the group as individuals shouted at him earlier than he began operating, ultimately making his means behind the gates of Downing Street.
In the video, some will be heard shouting “traitor”, whereas one other requested “how can you sleep at night?”
Christopher Aitken, 62, Martin Hockridge, 58, Djazia Chaib-Eddour, 44, Alexander Peat, 34, and Gary Purnell, 45, all deny utilizing threatening, abusive or insulting phrases or behaviour with intent to trigger harassment, alarm or misery.
On the primary day of their trial, on Wednesday, Mr Watt mentioned he had left his workplace within the parliamentary property to look at the protest, which was initially “reasonably good natured”.
But he mentioned the “atmosphere deteriorated”, prompting him to don his BBC lanyard to establish himself as press to police and demonstrators.
He advised the courtroom he determined to stroll away, within the path away from downing road, earlier than he started to really feel there was a “huge physical threat” as he ran to security close to quantity 10.
He advised the courtroom: “I used to be a runner, the calculation I made was that I could run faster than any of them.”
Mr Watt defined he was “like an express train” when he fled.
“I had become their prey, their quarry. It was like hunting a vulnerable animal”, he added.
Prosecuting, Alex Matthews advised the courtroom a “frenzied incident was whipped up in joint fervour” and the 5 defendants “engaged in mob rule”.
Mr Watt advised the courtroom the expertise had left him “very shaken”, including that regardless of having lined unrest in Northern Ireland he “had never experienced” behaviour of that sort.
The courtroom additionally heard how the incident had a long-lasting influence on his psychological wellbeing.
He mentioned: “We had to stop filing, nearly a year on later, as someone was shouting ‘traitor’ and coming up so there’s that practical effect but obviously the psychological impact of ‘what’s round the corner?’.”
During Mr Watt’s proof, two individuals had been faraway from the general public gallery for laughing.
Aitken, of Lambeth, Hockridge, of Harpenden, Herts, Chaib-Eddour, of Islington, Peat, of Wandsworth, and Purnell, of Shepherd’s Bush, had been launched on bail.
The trial continues.