Hatred that’s SHAMED her family: Sickened relatives of NHS worker who screamed ‘Nazi scum’ at Trump supporter say they can’t understand what happened to the girl they knew
- Siobhan Prigent apologised on Twitter for her behaviour at the demonstration
- Miss Prigent was a company director making a living on the back of the NHS
- ‘We can only imagine she got in with the wrong crowd,’ her ashamed uncle said
Siobhan Prigent has a tattoo on her arm, a ring hanging from her nose, and a white T-shirt bearing the message: ‘F*** OFF TRUMP.’ You will probably be familiar with her face, if not her name.
She is the protester, her features contorted with rage, filmed shouting and swearing at a Trump supporter during a demonstration in Parliament Square earlier this week.
Nine times she accused him of being ‘Nazi scum’ before screaming the single word ‘Nazi’ when she was barely inches from his nose.
The person on the receiving end of the onslaught, a semi-retired grandfather, was subsequently doused in milkshake by the mob for good measure.
First impressions of Miss Prigent, though, proved misplaced.
She was not an anarchist straight from Central Casting, after all. Quite the opposite. Miss Prigent, 34, is a company director who is making a living on the back of the NHS.
Or, at least, she was.
Siobhan Prigent, pictured, has apologised for her behaviour at a London protest in which marchers yelled ‘Nazi scum’ at a Donald Trump supporter
Miss Prigent, who describes herself as a ‘project support consultant’, has now lost her contract carrying out ‘administrative work’ for the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust after more than 18,000 people signed (five) petitions calling for her to be sacked — an indication, perhaps, of the febrile and polarised times in which we now live.
In the end, Miss Prigent took the decision to cut her ties with UCLH herself because she said she didn’t want the ‘NHS to suffer any more negative attention’.
But in the eyes of many, her explanation (to borrow a phrase much beloved of Jeremy Corbyn) was as hypocritical as the real story behind the ugly scenes that greeted the U.S. President’s state visit to Britain to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
Ms Prigent, who worked as a clinical trials coordinator at University College Hospital, is seen holding a placard saying: ‘This episode of Black Mirror isn’t funny any more! #NoThanksNazis’
Because one of the off-the-cuff pronouncements by Donald Trump that so angered the crowd in Parliament Square was that the NHS ‘must be on the table’ in any post-Brexit trade talks with the U.S.
Among the beneficiaries of such a deal would be ‘consultants’ such as Miss Prigent and her company VLEK Ltd, of which she is the sole director and shareholder.
In other words, her business epitomises the ‘creeping privatisation’ of the NHS, which critics, especially on the Labour benches, believe has already gone too far.
Therefore, the confrontation in Parliament Square resulted in ‘negative attention’ not just for the NHS, but for Miss Prigent and the double standards which seem to characterise her hate-filled compatriots. She was just unlucky enough to be caught on camera and has now apologised on Twitter.
She has paid a heavy price for her brief loss of control and, to that extent, it is hard not to have a little sympathy for Miss Prigent, who appears to have gone to ground after her outburst.
Her (proletarian-lite) credentials are not the only ironic twist in the narrative, though. She is not even from a hard-Left background. Far from it. There is a strong tradition of public service in her family, as well as a striking military connection.
Miss Prigent, from London, (pictured in the fracas) apologised in a now-deleted tweet: ‘I am very sorry for my behaviour today. I should have protested peacefully & I didn’t, & I regret that’
Her mother is a former nurse and her sister is a former police officer who is married to a Royal Marine. Her late grandmother, was also a Land Girl during World War II, part of the celebrated Women’s Land Army, which became a formidable rural workforce to replace men called up to the frontline.
Her family epitomise the very backbone of Middle England.
Some of Miss Prigent’s oldest — and closest — relatives are made from the same stuff. It is perhaps why they are prepared to speak out about how ‘deeply ashamed and embarrassed’ they are of her behaviour, not anonymously but openly and very much ‘on the record’. Rarely does this happen.
Among those relatives is Siobhan’s uncle, Paul Prigent, 74, a retired production manager, and his wife Janet, who live in the village of Barton-under-Needwood in Staffordshire. Siobhan used to spend school holidays with them when she was growing up. They have not seen her for a number of years.
‘She was a lovely girl. We can only imagine she got in with the wrong crowd,’ Mr Prigent told us, after seeing his niece’s performance on the TV news this week. ‘I think her conduct was disgraceful. I do not mind people protesting, but the language she used was totally unacceptable.’
Janet Prigent was equally shocked and angry by what she saw. ‘It is completely at odds with our own views,’ she said. ‘We were pleased the Trump visit appeared to go so well. She [Siobhan] was very aggressive and we are embarrassed.’
These feelings are shared by another aunt, Sheila Humphreys, the manager of an electrical firm and general secretary of the local sheepdog trials in her native Peak District. ‘My older brother [the aforementioned Paul Prigent] rang me to ask if I had seen her [Siobhan] on TV,’ Mrs Humphreys explained. ‘I immediately Googled her and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. How is that any way to behave?
‘Whether she disagreed with this other man, the Trump supporter, or not, that is no way to act.
‘I’m not going to say it wasn’t very ladylike, because that’s not the point. The point is her behaviour was completely out of order. I know she has apologised, but she shouldn’t be acting like that in the first place. ’
Yet another aunt, 73-year-old Marion Dale, also had her say.
‘Siobhan comes from a good, solid background,’ said Mrs Dale, who lives in Derbyshire. ‘From what I have seen, she has been a silly girl. I wouldn’t be on an anti-anything march. I am very much a “live and let live” sort of person.’
Miss Prigent and her sister, Alecia Emerson-Thomas (as she is now), 38, were brought up in the Cotswolds by mother Maureen after their father left home when they were young.
Their mother, a nurse at one time, later remarried but is now widowed and lives in an apartment in an imposing mansion block near the beach in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.
Her daughters were close but could not be more different.
Mother-of-three Alecia was a police constable, for ten years with the Avon and Somerset force in Taunton. She is married to a Royal Marine, Peter Emerson-Thomas, and has given interviews about his battle with post-traumatic stress disorder, triggered by his horrific experiences in Afghanistan.
Mrs Emerson-Thomas, who runs an aerial photography business with her husband, recently appeared in the hit TV show The Heist on Sky One, which featured a line-up of 14 current or former police officers who were then set the task of hunting down ‘criminals’.
Her social media posts show her taking part in a range of sporting activities such as weight-lifting, skiing and archery. Could there be a greater contrast to her angry, foul-mouthed sister?
Mrs Emerson-Thomas, a glamorous, eloquent woman who has fought hard for servicemen and women like her husband, appeared to distance herself from her sister’s views in the aftermath of her ‘performance’ at the anti-Trump demonstration. When it emerged on the internet that the two were, in fact, siblings, one commentator wrote: ‘Alecia is brilliant and is nothing like them idiots [the protesters]. ‘Thanks,’ replied Mrs Emerson-Thomas. In fact, the tragedy is that, just like her sister, Siobhan Prigent is a highly intelligent young woman. She has a degree in media practice from the University of Glamorgan and has been working closely with the NHS for the past ten years including, according to one online profile, a posting with a leading pharmaceutical company.
The pro-Trump supporter caught the milkshake before throwing it back during the protest against the President. He told MailOnline he was there supporting democracy
Her online accounts have now been deleted, but historic posts show she had an interest in ‘cancer research opportunities’ and, in one image, can still be seen posing with a handwritten placard which reads: ‘#whywedoresearch to make patient’s treatment as individual as their cancer.’
Miss Prigent, who lives in London, set up her own management consultancy business last September. However, she only began her association with the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust days before Donald Trump arrived in Britain and made his incendiary remarks abut the NHS (which, in typical Trump style, he swiftly retracted).
UCLH stressed that Miss Prigent’s work did not involve ‘patient contact’ and nor was she a ‘UCLH employee’ but had been ‘working for a third-party contracted to carry out administrative work at UCLH’.
Until that now fateful fracas, she looked to have a very promising future ahead of her.
Video footage of the Parliament Square incident shows the grey-haired Trump fan, who was the object of Siobhan’s ire, wearing a red-and-white baseball cap. He was part of a group waving the Stars and Stripes who were behaving peacefully.
But Siobhan and her ‘pals’ were offended by the presence of the Trump supporters. They pulled at the man’s jacket and, in the ensuing scuffle, he was pulled to the ground. When challenged about her behaviour on video, Miss Prigent replied: ‘I don’t need to hear from other white men, thank you very much.’
Imagine the uproar if those comments had been directed to, say, an innocent Muslim protester.
Before deleting her online footprint, Miss Prigent did, at least, apologise. ‘I am very sorry for my behaviour today,’ she tweeted shortly after the confrontation. ‘I should have protested peacefully. I didn’t and I regret that. I let myself down and I do understand that fully. There are two sides to every story but my actions were my own, and that’s on me. Please leave my family and friends out of it.’
But her apology was questioned as, just hours earlier, she had posted expletive-filled messages about Trump supporters, including: ‘MAGA [Make America Great Again] c**** get police escort #NoThanksNazis# Together AgainstTrump#DumpTrump.’
Back in Barton-under-Needwood, Miss Prigent’s uncle remains unimpressed. ‘If it had not been caught on camera, she wouldn’t have apologised,’ said Paul Prigent.
‘I understand that she has given up her NHS work, but Siobhan’s invective was not acceptable in any way, shape or form.
‘Observing the way Donald Trump conducted himself this week, he’s gone up in my estimation. I didn’t have any particular feelings for him, but his behaviour has been far superior to the way protesters have been behaving.
‘I don’t feel sorry for Siobhan but I do think she is a follower, not a leader. She just got caught up in it.
‘It has been a salutary lesson for her and I just hope it helps her to grow up.’