Huntsman jailed for trampling protester in Northamptonshire leaving him 'screaming in pain'

Huntsman Christopher Mardles trampled the man in his 60s who was part of a group of protesters.
Credit: Northants Hunt Sabs / Northamptonshire Police
The protester, left, had to be airlifted to hospital after being trampled by a horse ridden by Christopher Mardles, right. Credit: Northants Hunt Sabs / Northamptonshire Police

A huntsman whose horse trampled over a protester and left him “screaming in pain” has been jailed.

Christopher Mardles was part of the Pytchley Hunt which was hunting in the Sibbertoft area of Northamptonshire on 5 September 2020 when they came across the protesters.

There was an altercation between the two groups in which body cameras and camcorders held by the protesters were damaged by members of the hunt.

Mardles, 27, then rode his horse at the protesters and trampled a man in his 60s, leaving him with serious injuries.

The man had to be airlifted to hospital with broken ribs, a broken collarbone, a split shoulder blade and nerve damage, said police.

In his victim personal statement, the man wrote: “I still keep playing that moment over in my head all the time.

“I thought I was going to die, I really did. I was out to campaign, but I didn’t ask for that, I didn’t deserve that. I can’t understand that he was so unconcerned, that he didn’t even look back.

“I keep seeing that moment and him just galloping on. I was screaming out in pain and they just carried on hunting.”

At Nottingham Crown Court in March, Mardles, of West Sussex pleaded guilty to Section 20 – wounding, and at the same court on Thursday was sentenced to one year and six months in prison.

Det Con Craig Copeland of Northamptonshire Police said: “I welcome the sentence handed out to Mardles as his reckless actions that day could have had fatal consequences.

“The injuries he left this man with were extensive and he continues on his journey to recovery. I would like to thank him for his support during our investigation and I hope yesterday will give him some much-needed closure.

“This was quite a unique case to investigate however I hope it goes to show that Northamptonshire Police are equipped to deal with all kinds of incidents and will ensure justice is served whatever the circumstances.”

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