A woman accused of making threatening phone calls to a kennel owner has told a jury she was threatened with torture by an animal rights group.

Suzanne Jaggers, 35, has denied blackmailing Brett Cassidy as part of a campaign orchestrated by Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty.

Jaggers has admitted making two of the three threatening calls, but she insisted yesterday that she had in fact been trying to warn Mr Cassidy, who runs the Cheshire-based Little Creek Kennels.

A jury at Bradford Crown Court has heard how Mr Cassidy and his business were subjected to a campaign of calls, e-mails and noisy protests after SHAC claimed he had dealings with the controversial Cambridgeshire-based Hunting-don Life Sciences research facility.

Jaggers, of Upper Sackville Street, Skipton, claimed she went to the police because of the pressure she was under, but they turned her away.

"I didn't want to make these calls and I went to the police in Skipton and asked them for help, and the police told me to go away," said Jaggers.

"I know it wasn't right - I was being pressured by SHAC, but if you go to the police and they turn you away, what else can you do?"

Jaggers has stated that she made the calls in the hope that she would be caught and that SHAC would then think she was "useless".

"The truth of the matter is that SHAC are trying to blackmail this man," she told the jury.

"I'm the one who has made the phone calls, but I had no interest in stopping Mr Cassidy's dealings.

"I'm trying to tell him the type of people that they are because they have already threatened to beat me up and brand me with an iron.

"I'm trying to warn him. I'm not trying to threaten him."

In one of the calls Jaggers told Mr Cassidy: "I'm trying to protect you. There are some real nutters in this organisation.'' Prosecutor Simon Perkins suggested those words were a threat and also showed Jaggers' knowledge of the type of people she was dealing with, but Jaggers stated: "I was trying to tell him what the people were like. I had information that SHAC was trying to firebomb his cars - these people are completely out of control so I was trying to warn him.'' During cross-examination by Mr Perkins reference was made to an attack by animal rights activists on a grave.

"How did you know it had nothing to do with SHAC?'' asked Mr Perkins.

"Because I asked them, because I thought it was appalling and they said they had nothing to do with it,'' replied Jaggers.

"It didn't stop you making the call on October 8,'' said Mr Perkins.

"I wanted to be caught and prosecuted so I would never have to do this again,'' insisted Jaggers. Mr Perkins asked her why if she wanted to be caught she had "lied through her back teeth'' in the first 11 interviews with the police.

"Why didn't you say thank God officer you've got me I can tell you all about it'?'' asked Mr Perkins.

'Because I don't like the police,'' said Jaggers.

The jury was expected to retire to consider its verdict later today.