Anti fox-hunting campaigner left with seven broken ribs after being struck by huntsman

Anti fox-hunting campaigner ‘was left with seven broken ribs and a collapsed lung after she was trampled by a ‘reckless’ horse rider’

By Emma Glanfield for MailOnline

19 September 2016

An anti fox-hunting campaigner was left with seven broken ribs and a collapsed lung after being trampled on by a ‘reckless horse rider’, a court heard today.

Protester Nicola Rawson, 43, was left lying on the ground in agony after being struck by a horse travelling at 15mph during a hunt in Charlton Horethorne, Somerset.

Peter Mark Doggrell, of the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt, is accused of GBH after his horse knocked over anti fox-hunting campaigner Nicola Rawson in August 2014

Doggrell, was leading a hunt for children at the time and is accused of causing GBH

Taunton Crown Court heard today how NHS worker Ms Rawson was part of a saboteur group that had sprayed citronella along country lanes to break up the scent for hounds to follow. They had also blocked roadways so riders could not get past in a bid to protest against fox-hunting.

The court heard how shortly before 6pm on August 28, 2014, a Landrover belonging to the five saboteur group members parked up at the gateway to a field outside the village of Charlton Horethorne.

Ms Rawson and her friend Martin Horritt got out of the car to block the field entrance and within seconds Doggrell ploughed into the side of her on horse horse, it was said.

Shell-shocked Ms Rawson sustained horrific injuries and was laid up in hospital for the next two weeks.

The jury of four men and eight women were today played four video clips of the incident including one which showed a loud horn being sounded immediately prior to the collision.

Prosecuting, Mr Benson said the incident came as a result of ‘boiling tensions’ between the hunt group and the protesters.

Benson said there had been a stand-off throughout the day and mutual animosity had been building as the two parties clashed in a field in Somerset.

He said there had been a stand-off throughout the day and mutual animosity had been building as the two parties clashed.

He said: ‘In short there was an escalation of tension.

‘It’s not suggested by the prosecution that this defendant was directly involved in any violent or threatening conduct prior to the incident.

‘It’s suggested that he was aware of the presence of the saboteur group.

‘There was no need for him to ride as hard as he did. Also, the background of the day is relevant, no doubt irritated by earlier events.

‘He took it upon himself to frighten the protesters, rode as hard and close as he did. It was a reckless act.

‘Doggrell did not stop and that in itself indicates he had no interest in the safety of the person struck, just as he had no interest in their safety as he approached.’

The prosecution maintain that the anti-hunt protesters were in sight and Doggrell had plenty of time to react but chose not to.

Huntsman Peter Doggrell did not stop after the collision but later handed himself in to police

Doggrell rode off but handed himself in at Yeovil police station two days later.

In police interview, Doggrell said he had 10-15 seconds of the vehicle being in view before striking the protester, who he claims never came into sight until it was too late.

He initially answered no comment during the interview but provided a written statement after seeing the video footage taken by the protesters.

He said that he thought he may have clipped someone when he passed but it was ‘not enough to hurt them’.

The trial at Taunton Crown Court continues.

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