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Coventry airport have some serious questions to answer as to why they are dealing with a company that has such an abysmal record. Phoenix Aviation is owned by Christopher Barratt-Jolley, a man with absolutely no regard for human life, much less the welfare of the animals he transports. Selected highlight of his and his firms career include:
March 1993: Crosby Otovo, a Phoenix Aviation pilot, is jailed for 8 years after being found guilty of smuggling half a kilo of cocaine and one and a half kilos of heroin into the UK. He brought in the drugs in a suitcase while piloting a Phoenix-chartered Boeing 707. While nothing was ever proved against Barrett-Jolley, he has extensive business interests in West Africa, where the drugs are believed to have originated, not least through his arms dealing.
June 1994: Christopher Barratt-Jolley pilots a Ghanaian-registered aircraft carrying some 1,800 tons of weapons from Plivdov in Bulgaria to Riyan in South Yemen where they are used by South Yemeni forces in the vicious civil war. The shipment includes bombs, mortars and Kalashnikov rifles, but when confronted by the press when it transpires there is some "irregularity" with the papers for the arms, Mr Barratt-Jolley is happy to defend his contribution to humanity when speaking to the Birmingham Post "I've done plenty of legitimate arms deliveries on a government-to-government basis for 20 years. The South Yemenis need these arms to defend themselves. I believe these weapons will save a lot of lives. I have no regrets." He did admit to some misgivings over the problems with the documentation for the shipment but still made at least four more "life-saving" missions to Yemen for which he was paid at least 2,000 per flight. However, always modest, he was not keen for his humanitarian role in Yemen's bloody civil war to be made public, threatening Daily Mirror journalists "If this is printed, you'll be dead come Monday".
July 1994: Barratt-Jolley is back on the humanitarian trail again, this time in Angola where UNITA rebels have wrecked the UN-brokered cease-fire and elections to restart the countrys ten-year civil war. Bad news for the thousands of civilians who are killed or maimed in the fighting, but excellent news for Mr Barratt-Jolley who is laughing all the way to the blood bank with at least one 44-ton arms shipment from Vishkek in the former Soviet Union to Luanda, the besieged capital of Angola. It is believed he made many further shipments to Angola as part of a general effort by arms dealers to keep both sides supplied with arms in what was, for the arms trade, a highly profitable civil war.
October 1994:Barratt-Jolley is convicted of theft after he is sued by Lord Guernsey. Lord Guernsey had made the mistake of renting Barratt-Jolley a cottage, which he left in somewhat acrimonious circumstances in March 1994, taking with him some 6,000 worth of carpets and furniture. Lord Guernsey sued and was awarded 1,500 compensation and 7,000 costs. It is not known whether Barratt-Jolley has yet paid the money.
Late 1994: Barratt-Jolley is convicted of assault causing actual bodily harm after attacking a protester at Coventry airport with a crowbar. In an earlier incident which tragically foreshadowed today's events and gives some clue as to his likely reaction, he had tried to run a protester down in his Range Rover.
December 1994: a Phoenix Aviation aircraft used for shipping live exports crashes just outside Coventry, killing all five people on board and narrowly missing residential areas. Had it crashed a moment earlier, it would have landed on housing causing one of Britain's worst postwar air disasters. A subsequent investigation reveals Phoenix have an appalling track record on safety and that their aircraft break most of the regulations on air safety. The Phoenix flights from Coventry airport are suspended because of the safety issue.
January 1995: after a month has gone by, Coventry airport hope everyone has forgotten how bad Phoenix Aviation are and announce flights will be resumed. This time, Barratt-Jolley is using Soviet Aeroflot aircraft for the flights. It is estimated there is one serious accident every year involving Aeroflot aircraft in the former Soviet Union.
February 1995: Keen to protect the business interests of such an obviously respectable international arms dealer and convicted criminal, Warwickshire Police mount a huge operation involving over 100 officers to hold off just 33 protesters. Police wave a lorry on into a road occupied by protesters. A woman is crushed under the wheels of the vehicles which weighs several tons.
There has been much talk in recent months of violent animal rights extremists both in the media and by the police. The fact remains that 3 animal rights activists have now died under the wheels of animal abusers vehicles and no-one has yet been prosecuted for any of the deaths.
Christopher Barratt-Jolley is clearly the lowest form of life, a man with no respect for any life, be it animal or human. From dealing death to kids in Britain, to supplying arms for foreign despots, to theft and violence. You name it, he does it. And when the bottom fell out of the market in human death, Barratt-Jolley, an entrepreneurial pioneer of Britains export earnings moved straight into the animal death trade instead. His sick trade and the polices negligence has today caused the death of a dedicated and compassionate woman whose loss will be sorely felt by all who knew her and the animal rights movement as whole. However, for Barratt-Jolley, its just one more death in a whole string of deaths that can be laid at his door.
Just what the hell are Warwickshire Police and Coventry Airport doing, dealing with this evil man and helping boost his profits?
For answers to these questions and more contact:
Phoenix Aviation (01203) 301234
Viv Oliver, Manager, Coventry Airport (01203) 301717