1979 - 1999: TWO DECADES OF HUNT VIOLENCE

"Tolerance, understanding and dialogue are what we all seek.
Indeed, confrontation is not the country way."

Countryside Alliance, January 1999

When we started collating the research for this article, our intention was to make it slightly light-hearted, and treat the subject with a degree of humour. However, the more we thought about it, and the more information we received, the less we were able to do so. After all, two people have died due to the actions of huntsmen, and countless others have been seriously injured. Hunt violence is no joke.

The following cases are actual convictions of hunt supporters - you could multiply the number of these by 50 and still get nowhere the true number of incidents of violence against hunt protesters.

This article is also a damning indictment of the legal system. Even though many of the hunt supporters listed were found guilty of violent offences, only a few have been jailed. In what other section of society would someone get a community service order after attacking, and wounding, several people with a scythe?

Please note: Dates shown are the year of conviction, not the year the offence took place.

1979

IAN RANDELL, the son of the Badsworth FH's huntsman, was convicted of Actual Bodily Harm to a Sheffield sab.

ROBIN FOYD, LENNOX FOYD, KENNETH LUXTON and IRENE LUXTON were each fined £100 for Affray after they attacked a L.A.C.S. monitor who was trying to film a kill.

1980

Supporter of the Enfield Chase FH, GEORGE ADAIR convicted of Criminal Damage to a sab vehicle and ordered to pay a £100 fine and £60 costs. On a charge of Assault on sabs the jury were unable to come to a unanimous decision so Judge Hickman decided for them, finding Adair Not Guilty despite the evidence of six sab witnesses, a detective constable, a sergeant, an inspector and a superintendent regarding his alleged violent behaviour. To cap it all the Judge ordered all the sab witnesses to return the next week where he bound them all over to keep the peace for a year - refusing them permission to offer any defence!! (Judge Hickman refused to comment on the nature of his own recreational pursuits!)

MARTIN PHILIPS' 'sympathies' towards the hunt were so inflamed by the sight of two HSA sweatshirts, that he attacked the people inside them, leaving one requiring stitches to his face. Philips was fined £325, and ordered to pay £25 to each of his victims, as well as £19 damages for breaking a pair of spectacles.

1981

MAURICE BELL, master of the Wensleydale FH convicted of Assault and Actual Bodily Harm on two saboteurs, one of which he knocked unconscious and left needing stitches. A female sab was also dragged over a barbed wire covered wall. Bell was fined a total of £150.

ANDREW SMITH, a senior civil servant with the Dept. of Agriculture, his daughter LORNA and son DEREK, all members of the Linlithgow & Stirlingshire FH (now defunct due to sab pressure), along with ANDREW CROWE and MALCOLM DICK, were all convicted of charges of Breach of the Peace and Assault. Each of the five was fined £400. At a failed appeal, Lord Wheatly deplored the way the hunt members had acted as 'self-appointed vigilantes'.

Courser KENNETH ALSOP is bound over for a year after a sab was assaulted at the National hare-coursing event at Swaffham.

1984

Supporters of the Puckeridge FH, RONALD EDWARDS and his son STEVEN, bound over for a year by the sum of £200 after an incident in which a sab was beaten unconscious. Another hunt heavy was also fined £100 with £303.41 costs and compensation for damage caused to a saboteur's car, when he crushed it with his own.

WILLIAM BOLTON, PAUL HAWKES and DAVID LYNNE, supporters of the Tynedale FH, all bound over to keep the peace for 2 years in the sum of £200, after a vicious and unprovoked attack on a Tyneside sab. Bolton also admitted a further charge of Criminal Damage for which he was fined £50 with £24.41 compensation.

ROGER HOWARTH, a whipper-in for the Linlithgow & Stirlingshire FH found guilty of damaging a CB radio belonging to Edinburgh sabs. He was ordered to pay the group the princely sum of £10 for a new one.

Albrighton FH huntsman, NIGEL COX, convicted of firearms offences and given a 3 year suspended prison sentence after he blew a hole in the radiator of an occupied sab minibus with a shotgun. He was also given a conditional discharge for Assault (he had struck a sab with the gun) and Criminal Damage to a camera. No damages were paid to sabs after police 'forgot' to ask for them!

South Dorset kennelman NICHOLAS STEVENS and two of his henchmen all bound over to keep the peace after an incident when 3 sabs were cornered in a field and attacked.

PAUL CONNOLLY attacked a sab with a pickaxe handle, beating him while he lay on the ground. Fined £500 for Assault.

1990

THOMAS SMITH and JEFFERY COOK, supporters of the Bicester & Whaddon Chase FH bound over for 1 year for Breach of the Peace after an incident which left the back window of a sab's car completely smashed. The prosecution dropped charges of Criminal Damage and Section 4 after a mysterious 30-minute adjournment of the court...

ROBERT ROUS, Master of Hounds and DAVID TROTMAN, kennel huntsman of the Waveney Harriers both bound over to keep the peace after an incident when a hunt saboteur had to be taken to hospital following repeated lashing from a riding crop. The C.P.S. attempted to drop the case after medical evidence was 'lost', and witnesses weren't called....

DENIS LOUGH-SCOTT, a Heythrop FH supporter fined £50 for Actual Bodily Harm on a hunt protester.

NEIL COLEMAN, first whip and kennel hand of the Cottesmore FH, fined £300 and £10 cost after knocking an old lady off her bike, breaking bones and failing to stop, whilst driving the hunt fleshwagon back from an evening down the pub.

1991

Hunt saboteur, Mike Hill, was killed on the 9th of February 1991 at a meet of the Cheshire Beagles. Towards the end of the day's hunting, with no kill under his belt, the huntsman boxed up his hounds in a small blue trailer being towed by an open-top pick-up truck. The kennel huntsman, ALLAN SUMMERSGILL, with another man, jumped into the pick-up and, on impulse, three sabs who were nearby, jumped onto the back of it to prevent them driving the pack to another location to continue hunting. Summersgill drove off at high speeds down winding country roads for 5 miles with the terrified sabs clinging onto the back. It is thought that Mike jumped from the pick-up as it slowed to take a bend. He failed to clear the truck properly, and was caught between the truck and the trailer, which crushed him. Mike died where he lay on the road.

Despite the thud, and the screams of the other sabs, Summersgill continued driving for a further mile. The truck only came to a halt when one of the sabs smashed the rear window of the cab. The sab was hit with a whip as he tried to stop the truck. Once it had stopped one sab ran back to Mike's prone body while the other ran to a nearby house to call for an ambulance. Summersgill drove off. He later handed himself in at a police station. No charges were brought against him and in a travesty of justice, a verdict of 'Accidental Death' was brought at the inquest. Summersgill is still hunting hares.

EDWARD VICKERY, of the Quantock Staghounds, convicted of Assault after riding down and attacking a saboteur. Fined £600

DUNCAN BRANCH, a subscriber to the Chiddingfold, Leconfield and Cowdray FH found guilty of attacking 2 saboteurs with his fists and a riding crop. Fined £400 with £250 costs and was ordered to pay £50 compensation to each of his victims.

MARK EVANS, whipper-in to the Hampshire Hunt, loses a private prosecution brought by a saboteur he had beaten with his whip. Found guilty of Assault.

Bloodsports fanatic JIM NEWBURY STREET jailed for nine months after planting a bomb under his own landrover in an attempt to discredit sabs.

FRANCIS MOMBER, the former master of the Hampshire Hunt, given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay £175 compensation for smashing the windows on three sides of a saboteur's vehicle. Flying glass cut the drivers hand and another occupant's mouth.

JUSTIN ELLIS, MATTHEW JONES and CHARLES PEACH, all supporters of the Chiddingfold, Leconfield and Cowdray FH, found guilty of Affray after Ellis rammed the back of a sab landrover, and Jones and Peach attacked it, breaking several windows. Ellis was fined £400 and banned from driving, while the others were each fined £250.

Holderness FH's huntsman, WILLIAM DEAKIN, convicted of Criminal Damage to a sab van and given a conditional discharge.

GARY WHELBRAND, an Albrighton FH supporter, found guilty of fracturing a saboteur's jaw in two places and perforating his eardrum, after Whelbrand jumped the sab from behind, dragging him to the ground in an unprovoked attack. He was convicted of ABH, and was fined £250 with costs and £75 compensation.

Atherstone FH supporter convicted of Assault and fined £200, with £138 costs and £60 compensation.

Vale of White Horse FH whipper-in, MATTHEW CALCOT was ordered to pay £130 compensation and was bound over for a year for the sum of £100 after the windscreen of Oxford HSA's van was smashed.

The South and West Wilts. FH's kennelman sacked after being convicted of Section 4 of the Public Order Act. He had violently rocked a sab's car with people inside. He was also convicted of Drink Driving at the time.

STEPHEN THAYNE, whipper-in to the Chiddingfold FH, convicted of Assault and Battery after riding down a group of saboteurs. Given one years conditional discharge and ordered to pay £170 costs.

New Forest Terrierman, KEITH COLBERT and hunt supporter ADRIAN BUNGAY, both given conditional discharges after a hunt saboteur was attacked during a meet of the hunt. At the time of writing Colbert is wanted by police for an alleged racial attack on a mixed- race hunt monitor (ironically the new hunt master of the New Forest FH is black - it was he that appeared in the latest Rover advert, before his bit had to be pulled after he was accused of drunk driving!).

3 hunt thugs convicted of Affray and Reckless Driving after they had chased sabs around fields before attacking them.

NIGEL TREVITHICK-WOOD, husband of an Old Surrey and Burstow FH Joint Master, received a 6 month suspended sentence for punching a sab in the face at a cubbing meet. In a related incident 1st whipper-in (now huntsman) MARK BYCROFT was also found guilty of Assault and ordered to do Community Service.

KIETH NOBBS, New Forest FH terrierman and NICK STEVENS (again), South Dorset FH's kennelman, both fined £200 for Criminal Damage to a sab vehicle. The car, with sabs inside it, had been overturned at a meet of the South Dorset FH.

1992

CLIFFARD LARTER, a gamekeeper, found guilty of Assault on a Notts sab and causing ABH. The sab's nose was broken and more serious injury was only prevented by the intervention of two other saboteurs. Fined £200 and £75 costs.

JOHN FUNNELL, Master of the Surrey Union FH found guilty of ABH on Brixton saboteur. The sab needed stitches to a serious head wound and was left scarred for life after Funnell rode his horse over him twice. He was given a 2 month prison sentence, suspended for 2 years.

KENNETH BANKS, foot follower of the Old Surrey and Burstow FH received a 12 month suspended sentence for punching a saboteur in the groin.

FRANCIS MOMBER (again) found guilty of Criminal Damage to a Portsmouth sab Landrover. He was given a 1 year conditional discharge and ordered to pay £500 costs and £175 compensation.

2 followers of the South Dorset FH convicted of Criminal Damage after over-turning a saboteur's car - with sabs inside it! They were ordered to pay compensation to the car's owner

Hunt supporters ADRIAN BUNGAY (again) and KEITH CORBETT (again), both given conditional discharges for 1 year after an attack on two Southampton saboteurs. Both men had to pay costs and compensation to their victims.

Quorn FH employee TIMOTHY TAYLOR found guilty of possessing an unlicensed shotgun. Fined £100 with £37 costs.

Pro-hunt farmer, MARK FULLER, attacked an Anglia TV reporter out with local saboteurs, at a cubbing meet of the West Norfolk FH. After assaulting the reporter, FULLER proceeded to destroy two video cameras and smashed a van's windscreen. He was convicted of Affray and 3 counts of Criminal Damage. He was ordered to pay £1050 in fines, £1463 in compensation and £150 costs - a total of £2663.

RICHARD and THOMAS CHESHIRE, both hunt marshals, found guilty of Affray and Assault causing Actual Bodily Harm after they attacked a car containing observers, smashing the windscreen before overturning the vehicle down an embankment. Two of the passengers were repeatedly punched and an attempt was made to drag one man through the broken windscreen. They were fined a total of £2049, including £100 towards the repair of a damaged video camera.

RICHARD CHESHIRE, (again) and Bicester with Whaddon Chase FH kennelman, MICHAEL SMITH both sent to prison for 2 months after a sab was pushed in front of a speeding quad bike. The case was successful because for the first time, sabs had video footage of the incident.

1993

On the 3rd of April 1993, Tom Worby, a 15 year old saboteur attending his first foxhunt protest, was crushed under the wheels of the Cambridgeshire FH's hound van in an incident all too reminiscent of the killing of Mike Hill two years before.

After a successful day's sabbing, the hunt had boxed up and sabs were making their way back to the meet down a narrow lane. As the hound van came up behind them, revving its engine, sabs scrambled for the roadside; however Tom's jacket became snagged in the vehicles wing mirror and he was dragged some distance before he managed to gain a foothold on the van's running board. Although he banged on the window the van kept going, and when Tom finally lost his grip, he fell onto the road and under the truck's wheels. His head was crushed by the rear wheels of the vehicle and he died shortly afterwards.

No action was taken against the driver of the hound van, 53-year-old huntsman ALAN BALL.

WILLIAM HOWELLS, Forestry Commission worker and supporter of the New Forest Buckhounds found guilty of smashing a video camera belonging to the New Forest Animal Protection Group. (He actually twisted the camera in his bare hands until the casing snapped!) Ordered to pay £443 compensation and given a 12 month conditional discharge.

38-year-old KENNETH MANSBRIDGE, a supporter of the Hursley Hambledon Foxhunt, convicted of Unlawful Wounding on a Green Party researcher, who needed hospital treatment for serious head wounds after being kicked and beaten by a group of hunt followers 1991. MANSBRIDGE admitted kicking the victim in the groin and punching him to the ground. (On the same day, another protester was beaten around the head with a spade, and left needing 10 stitches and a 6 and a half months pregnant woman was hit on the head with half a brick, needing 4 stitches). MANSBRIDGE was sentenced to 140 hours community service and ordered to pay costs of £150.

JOHN STRIDE, a rider with the New Forest Buckhounds, found guilty of Assault on a saboteur (with his whip). Also convicted on a related charge of Criminal Damage. Fined £25 for the assault with a further £25 for damaging a map.

CHRISTOPHER R G NICHOL, hired Steward, admitted Assault on a female Pickering hunt sab, who suffered cuts and bruises. Fined £370 after admitting in court that he 'lost his temper'.

EDWARD LYCETT-GREEN MFH of the Portman FH, was given a 12 month conditional discharge for Criminal Damage. Originally 5 hunt followers including LYCETT-GREEN were charged with various charges of Affray, Violent Disorder, Assault and Theft after an incident when a blocked-in sab landrover had its windows smashed, a camera was smashed and stolen and the occupants, including a local reporter, were attacked. Unbelievably, at the trial the CPS refused to offer any evidence for the Affray and Violent Disorder charges and only Lycett-Green was convicted.

PATRICA HARRIS, a rider with the Portman FH, convicted of Criminal Damage to sab property and given a conditional discharge.

ROGER WAKEFIELD, Essex & Farmers Union terrierman, given 160 hours community service after being found guilty of Violent Disorder and Affray against saboteurs. Hunt supporter, BRYN CHITTENDEN was also convicted of the same offences and given 120 hours community service.

1994

A supporter of the Cumberland FH attacked a photographer with a spade handle, after the photographer took the balaclava-wearing thug's picture. He was fined £200 for Assault.

The chairman of the Essex FH and two of his hired stewards paid a total of £1053 in damages to three L.A.C.S. officials, after the stewards had forcibly removed them from land. The L.A.C.S. people were pushed around and threatened by the hired thugs, whom Paul Dixey, Chairman of the hunt, was thought to have organised.

PAUL MARTIN attacked a sab repeatedly at a joint meet of the South Dorset FH and the Cattistock FH. He pleaded guilty to ABH and was only given a Conditional Discharge, as no medical evidence was given. During the trail he claimed to have been acting as a steward for MFH the Hon. Charlotte Morrison. More on Mr Martin later......

ANDREW PEARCE head-butted the camcorder being used by a L.A.C.S. monitor because he mistook him for a sab. The monitor receives bruises and a swollen lip as a result. PEARCE was convicted of Assault and given a 2-year conditional discharge.

Bramham Moor FH supporter RAYMOND WALKER attacked saboteurs with a SCYTHE!, leaving two with head wounds, and a van's windows smashed. He was convicted of Affray along with two other hunt supporters MR & MRS WINSTANLEY, and Criminal Damage. All three were given community service orders.

1995

Leading supporter of the Surrey Union FH, NOEL CAHILL, arrested in November after an attack on saboteurs left one hospitalised. Police searching his home found a death threat ready to be posted to the HSA Press Officer

ANTHONY KIRKHAM, supporter of the Cheshire FH, received a 12 month prison sentence (suspended on appeal) for attacking a lone female sab who had gone to get help after the sab van had been attacked by hunt heavies. When Kirkham caught up with her, he beat and kicked her to the ground. More on him later...

Amateur Whip of the New Forest FH, JOHN MITCHELL found guilty of Careless Driving after sandwiching a Southampton saboteur between a van and a landrover, running over the sab's foot and hitting him with the wing mirror. A police officer witnessed the incident. Fined £180 and £150 costs and 7 penalty points on his licence.

JOHN EDWARD WEDMORE, terrierman for the Mendip Farmers FH found guilty of 3 counts of Assault after he launched an attack on three L.A.C.S. monitors. (Unbelievably, a L.A.C.S. monitor's tabard was shown to the court to prove that the monitors could not have been mistaken for hunt saboteurs - implying that wedmore might have had justification for attacking sabs!)

1996

Surrey Union FH supporter, GARY JOHN MOORE, pleaded guilty to two charges of Common Assault and Affray after an unprovoked attack on local saboteurs outside a pub. At the time of his arrest police had to drag him off his victim, who had already been beaten to the ground. Even while he was restrained MOORE attempted to kick the saboteur in the head. He was fined £500

DAVID WOOLLEY, Joint Master of the Cheshire FH, cautioned after making a 2am phone call to the NW Regional Rep. of the L.A.C.S. He was said to have threatened 'I'm going to kill you, Bitch!'

3 supporters of the Vale of Clettwr FH bound over to the keep the peace for a year after an incident when a sab van was surrounded and the driver dragged out and held upside down. Terrierman Emyr Davies and supporters JOHN GALMORE JONES AND JOHN GERAINT OWENS denied Violent Disorder and the Theft of 6 items of sab equipment.

1997

DEAN JOHN RICHARDS a supporter of the Tiverton Staghounds, pleaded guilty to two counts of Assault against a hunt monitors and a L.A.C.S. sanctuary manager. He hit both around the face before damaging a camera. He was Fined £50 for each assault plus £25 compensation to each victim and £69 costs.

A Master of the Cotswold Vale Farmers FH cautioned by police after an indecent assault was made on a young female saboteur.

STEPHEN BARNES, a rider with the South Notts FH, found to have deliberately ridden over a female saboteur, breaking her elbow and causing severe bruising, in a civil case brought by the saboteur. She was awarded £2500 compensation. BARNES was apparently 'banned' from riding with hunt after the incident in 1993.

1998

Pro-hunt farmer, ROBERT VENNER, ordered to pay £4000 compensation to the L.A.C.S. after he broke an awning and smashed a windscreen at the Leagues stand at the Ô97 Devon show.

Member of the Vale of Aylesbury FH, GEORGINA BLUNDELL, cautioned by police after a hunt monitor was ridden into by BLUNDELL's horse.

CLIVE D WENHAM, joint master of the Bolebroke Beagles convicted of Assault and Abusive Behaviour on a 63 year old woman, when she encountered the beagles on a road. Wenham coshed the woman over the head with his whip, knocking her to the ground. He was fined £1000 for the assault and £600 for the abusive behaviour.

ANTHONY KIRKHAM [see 1995] finally jailed for his part in what the Judge described as the 'cruel beating' of a L.A.C.S. monitor. The man was chased across a field, sprayed in the face with a liquid, hit over the head with a bottle and repeatedly kicked in the head when he fell. Kirkham told the man, 'We've got you now; you're dead' as he pulled him to his feet and ripped a camera worth £1,300 from his neck. Kirkham was jailed for 15 months.

Another old face PAUL MARTIN, [see 1994] and his father BERNARD MARTIN convicted of Affray and Paul's uncle COLIN MARTIN convicted of Section 4 after they broke into the back of a sab van and attacked the occupants with spades and wooden staves. A sab photographing the event was dragged from the van and beaten while the family of thugs tried to remove his film.

SIMON WILLIAMS, kennelman of the South Devon FH, bound over for a year after being charged with Threatening Behaviour towards a sab (the kind of threatening behaviour that involves a 5 foot metal pole.)

The Huntsman of the North Norfolk Harriers, BOYCE KEELING successfully convicted of Assault on a local saboteur, whom he beat with the handle of his whip.

Supporter of the Dunston Harriers, PATRICK EVERETT managed to get the hunt banned from one village after he viciously attacked a party of 1 man, 2 women and four children who had stopped to watch the hunt pass by. He was fined £800.

1999

JOHN WILLIAM BERE and DEAN JOHN RICHARDS (again) jailed for 4 and 6 months respectively after pleading guilty to Assault and Theft. The two Quantock Staghounds supporters had punched L.A.C.S. cameraman Kevin Hill to the ground before stealing his camera. The judge jailed the pair as an example to others saying, 'In my judgement, these are light sentences'.

At the time of going to press there are a number of hunt staff and supporters 'helping police with their enquiries' regarding violent attacks on saboteurs, some of whom sustained serious injuries.

And you know it isn't over when you read this:

"Born to Hunt,
Forced to March,
Prepared to Fight….."

Horse and Hound. July 1999.