Star date: 16th May 2013


Ordsall campaigner, George Tapp, was taken to the MRI Hospital last night with two broken legs after being callously run over by a motorist during a peaceful, lawful picket of BAM construction, one of the companies identified in blacklisting workers for trade union activity.

Protesters were handing out leaflets to motorists outside the BAM Construction site at the new Manchester City complex in Eastlands when the car accelerated into three campaigners, leaving George hospitalised. "This was an act of a mad man" says Paul Kelly who was on the protest.

Full details here…

Salford campaigner George Tapp at the MRI
click image to enlarge

George Tapp, 64 year old legendary Salford trade union campaigner on everything from the Bedroom Tax to pensioners' rights, is in the MRI Hospital tonight suffering with two broken legs and a horrendous gash on his head, after being mowed down by a car during a peaceful picket of BAM Construction outside its site at Manchester City's new complex at Eastlands yesterday.

George, an electrician by trade and a tireless campaigner against blacklisting in the construction industry, joined around fifty trade unionists from UNITE the union outside the BAM construction site to draw attention to the firm's activities – which included paying the disgraced blacklisting company, Consultancy Association, over £38,000 between 1996 and 2009 for membership, and namechecks of potential trade union activists. UNITE states that BAM Nuttall/Construction is a proven blacklister.

"We believe they are human rights abusers for stopping honest working men and women from getting employment because they were blacklisted" says Paul Kelly, who was on the protest with George Tapp last night.

"We were in between Ashton Road and the pavement trying to leaflet people coming out of the site and obviously it caused a bit of a back up on the main road because people were stopping to get leaflets" he recalls "We weren't blocking the road, just trying to talk to people in cars as they were going past, and the public was getting mixed up with the workers, it was bit chaotic.

"As far I remember I was talking to four men in a car and I looked around because I heard an engine revving" he adds "George was at the front of the car with a couple of other guys. Then I just heard the massive sound of an engine noise, looked round and saw the car disappear up the road for about 200 yards with George on the bonnet and the other lads.

"I was watching and the driver just hit the breakes. I saw all the lads on the front fall onto the floor, and he just drove off and left them there. George was in the middle and he just hit the floor.

"The speed of the car was so fast it burnt the tyres, and you could actually smell burning, and he breaked hard, that is how George sustained his injuries, he was flung straight onto to the floor.

"Most people were in shock really because the person who perpetrated this was just a complete maniac, there was no reason to do it; in my opinion it was attempted murder what that man tried to do to George. In my mind he went from 0 to 60 in seconds and that is an act of a madman."

While the two other protesters escaped with minor injuries, George Tapp had both his legs broken, together with a gash on his head that was still bleeding this evening. He will also require reconstructive surgery on one of his knees.

The Greater Manchester Police account of the incident, which was sent to the Salford Star this morning, told a very different story…

"At around 6pm on Wednesday 13 May 2013, police were called to reports of a group of protesters stood across Ashton New Road, opposite BAM Construction site, blocking traffic travelling in both directions" the release stated "On arrival, police discovered there had been a collision between a blue Ford Ka and 64-year-old man. He was taken to hospital and treated."

"From what we can see from CCTV, protesters were blocking Ashton New Road, preventing motorists from going any further. A number of people stood in front of the Ford Ka and climbed upon the bonnet before it moved forward. The car then travelled a short distance at a slow speed before it stopped and one of the men fell off. The car reversed and drove off" said Chief Superintendent Russ Jackson from North Manchester division.

"We are working to ascertain whether any criminal offence has occurred and I would ask the driver of the car or anyone who witnessed the incident to contact police" he added "Officers are now in the process of talking to representatives of Unite Union and BAM Construction to establish what happened last night. While we respect the democratic right of anyone holding a peaceful protest, if we believe individuals have behaved in an unlawful manner, we will take action."

The police version of events was met with disbelief by Paul Kelly…

"The speed that car travelled was in seconds, it wasn't slow" he says "It was so fast you could actually smell burning from the tyres, it definitely did not move slowly, it was a fast acceleration and he didn't stop, he breaked 200 yards down the road.

"George is 64, a Salford pensioner, and the idea of him climbing on the bonnet is ludicrous. It was a Ka, it doesn't even have a proper bonnet. I'm amazed the driver didn't kill him."

Today, messages of support and good wishes were flooding into the MRI where George is staying. There was even a supportive picket by blacklisting campaigners outside the hospital, led by Steve Acheson for whom George had helped organise a benefit recently (see Salford Star article – click here).

And tonight Paul Kelly visited the hospital along with Alice Searle, who works with George on the Irwell Valley Mining Project. They brought back a message from George…

"I remain in good spirits" he said "I'd like to thank everyone from the trade unions for their support and solidarity, and hopefully I'll be back with everyone soon to carry on the struggle for justice, peace and trade unionism."

Alice reported that George was quite comfortable and cheerful, and that his spirits had been raised by all the messages of support…

"George stands up for justice, he's not the sort of person who goes out of his way to make trouble, and he's not the sort of person who would go climbing over cars" she said "He's in his mid sixties and not what I'd call a physical person. He's the sort of person who uses his skills to explain to people and get over his point of view. People can see a man who is concerned about people's quality of life – and now his quality of life has been badly damaged."

The police are still `investigating' the incident. The Salford Star asked to see the CCTV footage as the GMP version seemed to contradict eye witness statements. The GMP said "We are not issuing the CCTV at this time".

Anyone with information should phone the police on 0161 856 3981/3832 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Please leave any messages of support in the Salford Star comments box and we'll make sure that George sees all of them…

Main photo by Alice Searle shows George Tapp with Paul Kelly

Alice Darlington wrote
at 12:23:24 AM on Sunday, May 26, 2013
Salford TUC youtube video link http://youtu.be/M6qPkZnimnY
ron marsden wrote
at 2:41:35 AM on Wednesday, May 22, 2013
George you are a working class hero, not just for union activity,but for work with the National Pensioners, convention We expose the the Govt's genocide of the elderly and people with disablities .Some 26000 cases of death due to hyperthermia this winter!!! Ron
at 2:41:12 AM on Wednesday, May 22, 2013
The End . Are you real ? Typical remark from a brainless cretin . Best wishes for a speedy recovery George .
the end wrote
at 2:49:54 PM on Tuesday, May 21, 2013
idiot stands in the road and get run over - tough luck!
No conspriacy here i am affriad wrote
at 2:02:08 PM on Monday, May 20, 2013
@Aslan AK you say "who are you to criticise ordinary people protecting their right to work?" and the you then cite Paul Kelly "a veteran of the '84 miners strike", is that the same 1984 strike when the families of innocenct workers who crossed the picket line defending their "right to work" were called scabs, physically and verbally abused, threatened, beaten, bullied, and seriously injured? Is it also the same strikers that attacked police officers and their families for doing their job? Yes George might not have done the above but he DID act unlawfully. The plods have CCTV, why would they say this if it did not back THEM up? As I am sure you are aware PC plod will not release this footage as it may be used in evidence in criminal proceedings either for or against the defence of anyone, releasing it could predjudice these proceedings, I am sure you are well of this thou and that's why you are trying to use the CCTV evidence to your advantage.
Aslan AK wrote
at 10:27:38 AM on Monday, May 20, 2013
@Stephen Morris, who are you to criticise ordinary people protecting their right to work? What have you or the English Democrats ever done for Salford? George has campaigned on behalf of ordinary people for decades. Unite intimidating people? Running over a pensioner is far more than intimidation. I'd believe Paul Kelly a veteran of the '84 miners strike over the police anyday.
Gary Duke wrote
at 1:47:13 PM on Sunday, May 19, 2013
Even if the police description of events were true, which seems very unlikely given their propensity to lie through their teeth, if the driver drove up the road with people clinging to the bonnet, that in itself is according to the Crown Prosecution Service classed as irresponsible "... behaviour at the time of the offence, such as failing to stop, falsely claiming that one of the victims was responsible for the crash, or trying to throw the victim off the bonnet of the car by swerving in order to escape...". I hope this has clarified it for the police and they prosecute this person to the fullest letter of the law!
Stephen Morris wrote
at 1:47:08 PM on Sunday, May 19, 2013
This head line article gives a completly different account to what the CCTV shows and hides the violence, fear and intimidation that Unite supporters forced on local people during the protest. Chief Supt Russ Jackson said: “From what we can see from CCTV, protesters were blocking Ashton New Road, preventing motorists from going any further. A number of people stood in front of the Ford Ka and climbed upon the bonnet before it moved forward. The car then travelled a short distance at a slow speed before it stopped and one of the men fell off. The car reversed and drove off." Can you imagine the fear that was going through that poor motorist mind when confronted with such a violent mob jumping onto their car, yet the police version of events was met with disbelief by Paul Kelly, What Police version would that be? the one from CCTV evidence?
Aslan AK wrote
at 5:39:35 AM on Saturday, May 18, 2013
George is a working class hero, the driver is clearly scum. Get well soon. Solidarity from Class Actions.
at 5:39:30 AM on Saturday, May 18, 2013
why are the police interviewing people to ascertain what happened when they have it on camera, why are they asking the driver to come forward, has he/her done a runner. surly they have his/her reg plate number and people on the site will know him/her.when has it now become legal to knowingly drive down a road with a person on your bonnet that can result is serious injury or death, seems like the police are saying if you are in the middle of a demo and people block your way then you have the right to run them over, if the police are sure about their statement then put the cctv footage on line so we the public can see and can condemn these demonstrators, if not then we can only ascertain that the demonstrators statements are true. and I am a person who on the whole fully supports the police
Michael Felse wrote
at 5:18:03 AM on Saturday, May 18, 2013
Get well soon George, we must not let violence put a damper on the right to freedom of speech.
at 4:49:44 PM on Friday, May 17, 2013
Are you people reading the same story as me? The police have CCTV footage showing totally the opposite of what George and pals claim. I now call on GMP that if felse statements have been made then these people need prosecuting for perverting the course of justice. These allegations by the protesters if repeated in court would be found to be perjury with the CCTV evidence. He broke the law and must now pay the penance.
at 1:46:34 PM on Friday, May 17, 2013
Get well soon George. A true gent so sorry you have been put through this. From all Mrs Craddocks palsxxxxc
Fred Hampton wrote
at 1:46:22 PM on Friday, May 17, 2013
I hope George makes a full and speedy recovery. He is a great unsung hero of the community and workers. It would definitely be interesting to see the CCTV given the contradictions between police and eye-witnesses. George, you can request a copy of the CCTV footage under the Data Protection Act. I recommentd you do this as soon as possible before the authorities "lose" it.
Mrs Nfiece Ahmed wrote
at 11:47:04 AM on Friday, May 17, 2013
George, we wish you a speedy recovery! So shocked to hear about this awful incident. Get well soon and stay strong!! From Adeeb and Family (Saffron)
Sue Wray wrote
at 9:20:37 AM on Friday, May 17, 2013
Wishing George a speedy recovery. A true gentleman and peaceful activist and campaigner
allison wrote
at 6:16:59 AM on Friday, May 17, 2013
George I wish you a speedy recovery, the marginalised, the unemployed, and victims of injustice and unfairness need you. I am horrified at what has been done to you, when you was just trying to do something decent in sticking up for the working man and expose the wicked and underhand practices of many aspects of the building trade. you are a true gentleman of the old school, mannerly kind and caring. I was shocked to hear the police version of events as knowing you as I do, climbing on a car bonnet is just madness. I am sure you wish you was capable of such James Bond stunts but the reality is you just would not. words and peaceful action are your style. Bless you and what you do, Salford would be a lesser place without your stand for what is right and decent.
sheila coleman wrote
at 6:16:44 AM on Friday, May 17, 2013
George, so sorry to hear that you have been hurt. Take this time to let people spoil you as you deserve it and we need you back with us fighting fit.
Dessie wrote
at 6:16:38 AM on Friday, May 17, 2013
Get well soon George. I will never believe anything the plods say . Best wishes George.
Charles Pottins wrote
at 6:16:17 AM on Friday, May 17, 2013
Hope you get well soon George, wish you strength, you were there for all of us, and the thoughts of all of us are with you. Charlie Pottins, assistant secretary Greater London Association of Trades Union Councils, and an old Salford lad myself.
phil hamer wrote
at 6:15:58 AM on Friday, May 17, 2013
My verry best to you George. And get well soon mate (your a star) phil hamer
Winston Smith wrote
at 6:15:50 AM on Friday, May 17, 2013
Get well soon George. Hopefully there's some comfort knowing that this company is even more under the spotlight now
Mike Kelly wrote
at 3:25:20 AM on Friday, May 17, 2013
Get well soon George from, The Apprentice Pensioner.In the meantime I will carry any banner with Defo.
Gaynor wrote
at 1:58:03 AM on Friday, May 17, 2013
This is shocking! Get well soon George, if you need any help at all, just let us know, and hope to see you fit & well really soon. Take care, Gaynor UCRC xx
steve U.S.U.C. wrote
at 1:57:56 AM on Friday, May 17, 2013
Get well soon George,lets hope this callous bastard is soon caught.People will keep your fight in the campaigns going.
Brian F Kirkham wrote
at 1:57:49 AM on Friday, May 17, 2013
George, Shocked and Saddened by this event that should never have happened. Get yourself better mate and hope to hear from you very soon.
Tahir Chakotai - Joint Chair Of TIETARA wrote
at 1:57:26 AM on Friday, May 17, 2013
I met this man, at the Angel Centre last week. He did not seem like the type of bloke to climb on a car bonnet. George was explaining some facts about Second Bedroom Tax, and how he was holding a meeting at St. Clements Church. All George cares about is the welfare of council tenants, within Salford. I think it's about time the GMP got their heads out of the sand, and recognise George, as the tenant champion he is, and not the raving looney, whom climbs on car bonnets. I also hope the GMP arrest the individuals whom done this to George. All that remains to be said is "Get Well George", and "Hope to see you back on your feet, within the near future".
joe oneill wrote
at 1:56:20 AM on Friday, May 17, 2013
Get well soon mate Joe Salford green party
Lee Craven MBE wrote
at 4:51:26 PM on Thursday, May 16, 2013
That's awful, Thinking of you George,get well soon, keep up your good work.
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