HSA news release 3rd January 2005
The Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) is asking for a public explanation from Essex police as to why officers are failing to act against fox hunters who break the law. In recent weeks there have been a number of serious assaults on saboteurs culminating in a pregnant saboteur being whipped and then ridden over twice by a horseman on New Years Day at the Essex Hunt.
In what the HSA has branded as a "vicious and sick stunt", Countryside Alliance regional representative Liz Mort sent round a communique to News Editors to counter the HSA's press release regarding the incident, in an attempt to stifle the news breaking out into the public domain and deny the involvement of the hunt. In it, she claimed that the victim of the assault had "tripped" and fallen to the ground unconscious and that no person was within 3 metres of her when it happened.
Hunt saboteurs at the scene have clear video footage of a huntsman riding at the pregnant woman 3 times, raising his whip to hit her and riding over her. The video also shows the member of the hunt hitting another saboteur and shouting "Get the c*nt with the video!"
The Alliance communique goes on to state that the victim of the assault had disappeared when an air ambulance arrived. To the contrary, she had not left the scene and was being comforted in the back of a saboteur's vehicle. The air ambulance landed 3 fields away but then left without attending her. She had to wait another half hour for a land ambulance to take her to a hospital in Harlow where she was treated.
Saboteurs who had witnessed the attack went to Colchester police station yesterday (2 January) to find that the incident had not even been given a crime reference number. The only record the police had of the incident was that an ambulance was called. However, saboteurs at the scene had spent an hour trying to convince officers that they should carry out an arrest.
The Alliance communique went on to claim that police had said "that they thought she was a bit of an actress as she had done the same thing the previous day while out sabbing a different hunt, also in Essex.". On New Years Eve, a gang of 30 thugs at the East Essex hunt had attacked saboteurs. They had tried to steal a video camera from the pregnant woman's hands. When she refused to let go she was pushed to the ground and kicked. Police at the scene refused to arrest anyone or even take names, claiming that she should make a statement at the police station - by which time it would be impossible to trace the perpetrators of the assault.
The 28 year old victim of the assault, who will not reveal her name to the media for fear of reprisals, has written a formal letter of complaint to the Chief Constable of Essex Police.
Nathan Brown, HSA spokesperson, said: "What is really worrying is not only that the Countryside Alliance are trying to stifle reports of huntspeople carrying out violent assaults but that the police appear to be implicated in this cover up. A pregnant woman was the victim of a potentially fatal assault and despite the presence of witnesses and a video recording of the attack, police failed to act. It was not logged as a crime. Suspects were allowed to leave the area. If it happened anywhere else or to anyone else, the police would immediately take action. If Liz Mort of the Countryside Alliance is to be believed the police even dismissed the assault as not having happened. Either Essex police are biased in favour of the hunt or the Countryside Alliance is lying. We want to know which is true."
Notes for Editors:
Recent incidents at Essex hunts:
- 4 December - Saboteurs attacked. 1 suspected broken nose. Terrierman wearing balaclava issues threats. Essex Farmers & Union/East Essex Hunt
- 11 December - Saboteurs wrist broken in 2 places. Essex Hunt
- 31 December -12 saboteurs attacked by mob of 30 thugs. East Essex Hunt
- 1 January - Pregnant saboteur ridden over and whipped. Essex Hunt
The CA communique is reproduced below
"You may have seen a report that a pregnant hunt saboteur was taken to hospital today(Saturday) - implying that somehow the hunt, the Essex Foxhounds, was to blame.
THIS IS NOT TRUE.
The woman in question was spraying a liquid into the eyes of horses and hounds, when she turned round 'tripped' and fell to the ground, apparently unconscious. No person was within 3 metres of her when this happened. An ambulance was called, but was involved in the accident, so the air ambulance was called. By the time it arrived the 'patient' had disappeared.
A policeman policing the day's activities was later asked whether she was all right - the answer was, in so many words, that they thought she was a bit of an actress as she had done the same thing the previous day while out sabbing a different hunt, also in Essex.
If you want any further information please ring me, Liz Mort, on xxxxxx. Meanwhile, perhaps we should be suggesting to the Air Ambulance people that they charge the hunt saboteurs association for the call-out?
If you receive any further 'press releases' from the Hunt Sab people and cannot raise your contact with the hunt, please ring me and I will give you the hunt's version of things!