1965 - 1965

The first serious instances of anti-saboteur violence occurred during 1965. In February, three members of the Bournemouth group were attacked with an axe and a starting handle by thugs from the Sparkford Vale. Although a hunt supporter was fined £15 for breaking a saboteur’s guitar with the axe (!); eight sabs were fined £10 each for ‘threatening behaviour’ (throwing flour bombs). 14 Worse was to come.

On May 2nd, the Street and Brixham groups (nine sabs) visited the Culmstock Otterhunt at Colyford. Their vehicles were surrounded, windows smashed and the occupants assaulted with otter poles and whips. Leo Lewis, the driver, was pulled from his car and beaten by four men who broke his jaw. Although seventy saboteurs turned out against the same hunt a week later and sent them home in disarray, the damage inflicted by the subsequent court hearing was far reaching. Leo’s attackers were successfully convicted but seven saboteurs were bound over for a year after giving evidence.