Page last updated at 18:01 GMT, Thursday, 4 March 2010

Warwickshire gyrocopter pilot 'feared hunt attack'

Bryan Griffiths - archive image
Bryan Griffiths denies the manslaughter by gross negligence

An animal rights supporter accused of killing a hunt supporter in a gyrocopter thought he had been shot at and could be attacked, a court heard.

Bryan Griffiths, 55, of Wiltshire Close, Bedworth, Warwickshire, denies the manslaughter by gross negligence of Trevor Morse in March last year.

He died instantly when he was struck by the high-speed propeller at an airfield as he tried to stop it taking off.

The court heard Mr Griffiths stopped to refuel when the stand-off occurred.

He said that he believed that he had been shot at three times while he was flying the autogyro
Michael Tipping, aviation enthusiast

He had been monitoring the Warwickshire Hunt, of which Mr Morse was a committee member, from the air.

Birmingham Crown Court has heard hunt master Anthony Spencer and Mr Morse had a plan to stop the gyrocopter from taking off when it landed to refuel so they could confront the pilot.

Before Mr Morse arrived in his vehicle, with the intention of parking in front of the gyrocopter, Mr Griffiths had been speaking to "aviation fanatic" Michael Tipping, the court was told.

Mr Tipping said Mr Morse was "intrusive and aggressive" when he got out of his vehicle and started taking photographs.

'Beat me up'

"When I spoke to him asking what he took pictures of my car for, my mind said to me, 'you don't want to mess with this man'," he said.

Mr Tipping said Mr Griffiths had asked him to stay at the airfield, near Stratford-upon-Avon, as he felt trouble was imminent.

"I thought: 'Oh crikey, don't say this is blinking drugs'," Mr Tipping said in a statement read to the court.

"He (Griffiths) said I think he (Mr Morse) is trying to hold me up you know, because I think there's a gang coming for me to beat me up.

"He said that he believed that he had been shot at three times while he was flying the autogyro."

The trial continues



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SEE ALSO
Propeller victim 'did not move'
03 Mar 10 |  Coventry/Warwickshire
Propeller victim 'died instantly'
02 Mar 10 |  Coventry/Warwickshire
Man denies killing hunt supporter
01 Mar 10 |  Coventry/Warwickshire
Man denies killing hunt supporter
05 Oct 09 |  Coventry/Warwickshire
Gyrocopter death accused in court
23 Mar 09 |  Coventry/Warwickshire

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