Page last updated at 14:49 GMT, Thursday, 1 April 2010 15:49 UK

Long Marston Gyrocopter death 'was traumatic'

Bryan Griffiths
Bryan Griffiths was cleared earlier this month

A gyrocopter passenger who saw a hunt supporter being killed by the aircraft's propellers has said it was a "traumatic" incident for all concerned.

John Curtin was with pilot Brian Griffiths, who was recently cleared of the manslaughter by gross negligence of Warwickshire Hunt member Trevor Morse.

Mr Curtin, an animal rights activist, said Mr Morse's death at Long Marston airfield was "horrible for his family".

But he added that it was right that 55-year-old Mr Griffiths was acquitted.

Mr Curtin was monitoring the hunt from the air in the gyrocopter and he and Mr Griffiths had stopped at the airfield in March last year to refuel when a stand-off with Mr Morse ensued.

When the gyrocopter stopped, I had no idea the day had died because I shut my eyes and move to one side
John Curtin

Mr Curtin, , from Coventry, who has been jailed four times in the past for animal rights activities, told BBC News that Mr Morse was with a "mob" at the airfield near Stratford-upon-Avon.

"It was a horrible thing, a traumatic thing for all concerned," he said.

"I'm delighted that Bryan was found not guilty - it's absolutely the right verdict.

"He (Mr Morse) was part of a mob that planned to trap us on the airfield and as we were getting away, unbelievably, he came in with a big punch at me.

"When the gyrocopter stopped, I had no idea he had died because I shut my eyes and moved to one side.

"When I went up to him, I won't go into detail about what I saw but it was dreadful."

Birmingham Crown Court heard earlier this month that Mr Morse, 48, a committee member of the Warwickshire Hunt, drove to the airfield with another hunt supporter to confront Mr Griffiths.

During the stand-off, Mr Morse, who also had a female passenger in his car, blocked the gyrocopter with his Land Rover.

Mr Morse was asked to move out of the way of the aircraft but he refused and died instantly when struck by the propellers, the court was told.

In a video clip from the airfield shown to the jury, a voice can be heard telling Mr Morse that he is obstructing take-off, and the propellers can be heard to speed up, followed by a bang.

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