A HUNT master has been found guilty of hurling racist abuse at an anti-blood sports protester.
David Lee Peters, 33, hurled insults at saboteurs who gathered in 4×4 vehicles to voice their protests at a meet in Ross-on-Wye on January 7.
The married dad-of-one, who is the master of the Ross Harriers hunt, went on to abuse protester Hiba Hassan as he rode past on horseback, Hereford Magistrates’ Court was told. Peters called police to disperse the protesters who claimed they were monitoring for illegal hunting.
But he was arrested when the anti-hunting group told officers about the racist slur.
Prosecutor Michael Taylor said to him during the trial: “You tried to take a look inside the Land Rover.
“You even went to look in the back and when you saw a black person you shouted out (a racial obscenity). Presumably loud enough to impress the people behind you.”
Ms Hassan told the court she was on her first hunt protest and was left “upset”.
She said: “Mr Peters began banging on the Land Rover and shouting at us.”
She heard him say “you’re going to get it” and say a racially insulting term.
“He was aggressive the whole way through,” she said. “Everyone was in hearing distance. I felt very alienated and upset and shocked.”
She told police an hour later and witness Robert Muncey told the court he saw the lead rider crouch down as he passed the Land Rover, looking in the cab window, then crouch by the back window and yell out a racial obscenity to the riders behind.
“It was said very loudly in a venomous manner,” he said. “I couldn’t believe what I had heard. I really thought there was going to be trouble.”
Peters admitted shouting some threats towards the group as he passed them on horseback but denied using racist language.
He claimed he was verbally abused himself by the group.
“I was told that there were saboteurs present,” he said. “The information I had was that they had baseball bats. I phoned the police and just told them the information I had. As soon as you’re aware of saboteurs, it’s my duty as a master to inform the police.
“We left the pub and went around the bend and there’s some saboteurs to my left hand side just parked up really. I did not stop because I had the hounds around me. And I didn’t say those words, I didn’t hear those words.”
When he went back up the lane he claimed he was grabbed by the leg and he reacted because he was backed in to a corner.
“Then I retraced my steps back up the lane. I got near enough to the top and one of the saboteurs made a grab for me and had me by the leg trying to get me off the horse.”
Yesterday Peters was found guilty of racially aggravated harassment and fined £700, ordered to pay £200 compensation, £2,000 prosecution costs, and a £15 victim surcharge.