A jury at Taunton Crown Court has been hearing claims an experienced huntsman deliberately rode his horse at speed at a hunt saboteur, injuring her badly. The collision was filmed.
Nicola Rawson broke 7 ribs in the incident near Charlton Horethorne on the Somerset/Dorset border. Peter Doggerell denies maliciously causing grievous bodily harm.
Peter Doggrell is accused of riding at speed through a gateway onto a field where two hunt saboteurs were standing.
The prosecution claim he had 10 to 15 seconds beforehand when he would have seen their Landrover, they say he knew saboteurs were about and claim he was riding so hard and fast it was a reckless act which unsurprisingly ended in serious injury.
The jury has seen a video filmed form the hunt saboteur's landrover. A horn blasts out to distract the hounds, moments later Peter Doggrell's horse canters through the gateway. Nicola Rawson is sent reeling. The court was told the huntsman does not look back or stop. He said he thought it was a glancing blow and didn't realise she was hurt.
An air ambulance was called and 43 year old Miss Rawson was found to have 7 fractured ribs. She also suffered a collapsed lung.
Peter Doggrell does not deny riding the horse which collided with Nicola Rawson but he denies maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm. He claims he didn't see the hunt saboteurs in the field nor hear their horn. He was asked, 'how close to the people were you when you became aware of them'? He said, 'I was more or less on top of them'.
It was suggested that he took it upon himself to ride close to the protesters to scare them but Mr Doggrell said, 'To tell the truth I'd only just seen them.'
The hunt saboteurs had been spraying citronella in the hedges to put the pack of around 45 hounds off the scent and blowing horns to confuse the animals. The prosecution claim Mr Doggrell was annoyed by the disruption to what was a children's drag hunt. He says he wasn't annoyed and didn't realise until later hunt saboteurs were out. The trial continues.