Animal rights activist Suzanne Jaggers is suffering from a serious psychiatric disorder and has tried to take her life in custody, a judge was told.

Bank worker Jaggers, 35, who was last month convicted of blackmail which was part of an animal cruelty campaign, was due to be sentenced at Leeds Crown Court yesterday.

But Judge Jennifer Kershaw, QC, adjourned the hearing so that psychiatrists could carry out further assessments.

Miss Chloe Fairley, representing Jaggers, of Upper Sackville Street, Skipton, told the judge she wanted to be sentenced.

But Judge Kershaw said a report by psychologist Bernard Catt said Jaggers posed a serious risk to her own life and was suffering from a serious psychiatric disorder for which she was not receiving treatment.

Dr Adrian Berry, a forensic psychiatrist at Newton Lodge secure unit in Wakefield, where Jaggers is being held, had said she should be remanded back into custody so that he and his clinical team could continue their diagnosis, treatment and prognosis.

Judge Kershaw said: "She arrived in Newton Lodge having given rise to considerable cause for concern in custody, having regard to the number and level of attempts upon her own life, and symptomology consistent with a major depressive illness."

The probation service had also been unable to complete pre-sentence reports.

The judge said: "I do not know enough about the person who is to be sentenced. Miss Jaggers is primarily an unknown quantity. While I understand her view, it would not be fair or reasonable to sentence her against that imperfectly-understood background."

Jaggers, who is a member of the RSPCA, was remanded back into custody and a new sentencing date will be fixed when Dr Berry has completed his assessments.

Jaggers was convicted by a jury at Bradford Crown Court last month of one offence of blackmail, involving a phone call to the boss of a Cheshire-based company in which she referred to his vehicles being firebombed.

The blackmail attempt was said to be part of a campaign by the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) organisation.

At the end of the trial Judge Kershaw told Jaggers the overwhelming likelihood was that she would receive a custodial sentence.

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