Stuart Radbourne, Huntsman and Master of the now disbarred Avon Vale Hunt, was back in court last month to face more animal cruelty charges dating back to 2020. He pleaded guilty to the charges which were brought under Section 4(1) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
He was sentenced on 27th October 2023 for the offence of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal. He admitted to throwing a fox to a pack of hounds who subsequently savaged the poor animal. The incident is reported to have occurred on Christmas Eve 2020. The horrific attack on the fox was witnessed by others present including a child, and the incident was recorded and shared around, no doubt with like-minded animal abusers boasting about their depraved behaviour.
Radbourne received 18 weeks custody, which was suspended for 12 months, a £750 fine and 200 hours of unpaid work. Disappointingly, despite the fact he has the Avon Vale Hounds on his family owned equestrian centre, Abbotswood, in Bromham near Melksham he was not given a ban on keeping animals, despite this being just the latest in a series of wildlife convictions for this prolific abuser. He also has previous convictions for Hunting Act and Badger Sett offences.
Multiple sources report that the Avon Vale hounds were handed over to Radbourne to deal with following the disbandment of the hunt earlier this year. He has kept them locked up at his Abbotswood Equestrian facility ever since, despite initially claiming they were going to be sent to a hunt in Ireland, and along with hunt thug Ryan Walpole-Johnsen they have restarted the flesh round, collecting fallen stock carcasses which serves to feed the hungry dogs.
Sources also report that Radbourne has been hunting them on several occasions as a private pack, and is now being supported financially by the former Avon Vale Hunt Secretary on her land at Oldbury Park Farm, Yatesbury.
This latest court appearance is in relation to an incident which pre-dates the attack on the fox for which Radbourne, alongside his most recent kennel huntsman and whipper-in Aaron Fookes, was charged and convicted of earlier this year when footage was leaked to the Hunt Saboteurs Association showing the Avon Vale Hunt dig out a brace (pair) of foxes as Aaron Fookes (whipper in) lifted one of the foxes – which had been flushed by terrierman Alex Warden – and threw the terrified animal to the baying hounds which were under the control of Radbourne at the time. Alex Warden is still awaiting his trail, set for 21st and 22nd of December at Winchester Crown Court, having pleaded not guilty during his earlier hearing.
There isn’t much more known at this point about the most recently reported incident, Wiltshire Rural Crime Team say on their social media that this came about as a result of “working closely with our partner the RSPCA”. Interestingly it goes on to say that Radbourne, in carrying out the barbaric offence, “jointly concerned with others, did cause unnecessary suffering to a fox”.
There has been nothing more reported on the names of the ‘others’ involved in the incident either. Sources indicate a male and female are also involved but their exact involvement and level of complicity is unknown. The date of when the incident occurred in 2020 would have been when Oli Thompson was the kennel huntsman and whipper-in. We reported on Thompson earlier this year, after we exposed a video of Thompson training one of his terriers to bait a terrified fox cub.
Our publication of the fox cub/terrier baiting video forced the hand of the British Hound Sports Association (BHSA) to admit they were aware of Thompson’s video, and that he was already at that time the subject of a joint RSPCA and police investigation, following the seizure of his mobile phone (and others) following police raids in January 2023.
We can but only speculate if the most recent conviction of Stuart Radbourne is related to these raids, no doubt the man is a prolific abuser of wildlife, and not adverse to being filmed in doing so, and the acts for which he was convicted were part and parcel of daily life. Not just for Radbourne but for most hunts up and down the country. This kind of behaviour is so normalised for hunts, that they do not even protect their own children from witnessing it.
This month’s Horse and Hounds has an article entitled “Why Should Children Go Hunting” and goes on to encourage parents to allow their children to be indoctrinated into this normalised animal abuse within their own echo chambers. Similarly, children with pro-hunt parents are indoctrinated by hunts via Pony Clubs, which groom those children for a life of abuse and criminality.
A spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association said
“Once again hunts have shown us that they are so confident in their impunity from the law, they feel safe in carrying out their barbaric and illegal activities in front of children, even recording their crimes to share and boast with others.
Even on the rare occasion where they are brought to court and convicted, a weak and ineffective justice system fails to even bar them from possessing the tools of their crimes – their hounds. If Joe Bloggs repeatedly used his dogs to illegally kill other animals, you bet that any judge would exercise their powers under the Sentencing Guidelines for Animal Welfare Act offences to bar them from keeping such animals again.
It’s long past the time that the authorities must deal with these Organised Crime Gangs who illegally hunt and kill wildlife, and also indoctrinate and groom impressionable children into doing so, and it is high time the judiciary meted out sentences to match the barbarity of the crimes committed”