Hunt rider whose horse trampled protestor in Northamptonshire jailed for 18 months

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‘I thought I was going to die. He didn’t even look back. I was screaming in pain and they just carried on hunting’

A man whose horse trampled a hunt protestor has been sentenced to one year and six months in prison.

A spokesperson for Northamptonshire Police said that on the morning of September 5, 2020, the Pytchley Hunt were in the Sibbertoft area of Northamptonshire when they came upon a group of hunt protestors.

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“An altercation ensued whereby body cameras and camcorders held by the protestors were damaged by members of the hunt, before Christopher Mardles, aged 27, previously of Petworth, West Sussex, rode his horse in the direction of members of the protest and collided with a man in his 60s.

Christopher MardlesChristopher Mardles
Christopher Mardles

“As a result of the incident, the man had to be airlifted to hospital with broken ribs, a broken collarbone, a split shoulder blade and nerve damage,” the spokesperson said.

In his victim personal statement, the man wrote: “I still keep playing that moment over in my head all the time. I thought I was going to die, I really did. I was out to campaign, but I didn’t ask for that, I didn’t deserve that. I can’t understand that he was so unconcerned, that he didn’t even look back. I keep seeing that moment and him just galloping on. I was screaming out in pain and they just carried on hunting.”

At a hearing at Nottingham Crown Court in March of this year, Mardles pleaded guilty to Section 20 – wounding, and at the same court yesterday (Thursday, November 9), was sentenced to one year and six months in prison.

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Lead investigator DC Craig Copeland, of Northamptonshire Police, said: “I welcome the sentence handed out to Mardles as his reckless actions that day could have had fatal consequences.

“The injuries he left this man with were extensive and he continues on his journey to recovery. I would like to thank him for his support during our investigation and I hope yesterday will give him some much-needed closure.

“This was quite a unique case to investigate however I hope it goes to show that Northamptonshire Police are equipped to deal with all kinds of incidents and will ensure justice is served whatever the circumstances.”