Huntsman Peter Mark Doggrell found not guilty of trampling hunt sab | Somerset Live
A huntsman accused of trampling a hunt saboteur with his horse – leaving her with broken ribs and a collapsed lung – has been cleared by a jury.
Peter Mark Doggrell denied causing grievous bodily harm to Nicola Rawson on August 28, 2014 at a meet organised for children with members of nearby Pony Clubs.
A trial at Taunton Crown Court heard tensions had been mounting throughout the day between the hunt group and the saboteurs, who had been spraying citronella along paths and lanes to break up the scent and standing in country lanes and gateways in a bid to block riders.
In a video shown to the jury on Tuesday (September 20), taken by the saboteur group, Doggrell, dressed in traditional hunting clothes, could be seen riding his horse at around 15mph into the field where Nicola Rawson and other saboteurs were trying to distract the hounds in the village of Charlton Horethorne.
He collided with Ms Rawson, knocking her to the ground and leaving her struggling for breath. She was left with seven broken ribs and a partially collapsed lung and was airlifted to hospital.
Doggrell said he had been trying to round up the hounds at the time of the incident and hadn’t seen the saboteurs until the last minute.
He denied the collision was a deliberate act and said he thought he had simply dealt a ‘glancing blow’ to another member of the hunt as he passed.
"I hadn’t even seen them," he said. "I had no intention to scare or hurt anyone."
There was a gasp from the public gallery as the verdict was announced, with Mr Doggrell looking emotional and being hugged by members of his friends and family as he left the court.
He declined to speak to reporters as he left the building, but his solicitor Jamie Foster, speaking on his behalf, said: "Mr Doggrell is delighted that a jury has cleared his name so quickly and fully.
"While he remains sympathetic to Miss Rawson’s injuries, there is no doubt they were caused by the recklessness of the hunt saboteurs.
"It is incumbent of the Hunt Saboteurs Association to take better care of their members."
A spokesman for the Hunt Saboteurs Assocation said: "It’s interesting he is blaming the actions on the sab when she was standing in a public place and was ridden down by a huntsman who was travelling at speed.
"If it is incumbent that anyone change their behaviour, it is his client."
The spokesman added that while local saboteur groups were autonomous, the association did support them and would stand beside their decision to protest hunts, and would continue their actions.
"We support and stand with the Dorset Hunt Saboteurs," he said.
North West Hunt Saboteurs Association
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