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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 September 2006, 08:43 GMT 09:43 UK
Hunter guilty of monitor attack
Christopher Marles
Christopher Marles was captured on video before the attack
A Devon hunter has been found guilty of attacking a campaigner who was filming a hunting event.

Christopher Marles, 44, of Farringdon, near Exeter, repeatedly punched Kevin Hill, a hunt monitor with the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

He denied assault at a Devon and Somerset Staghounds hunt last October.

Exeter Crown Court heard that Mr Hill, 56, from Beaminster, Dorset, suffered a bleeding face as well as a black eye during the attack.

Sixteen-stone Marles, who was not a member of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, was bailed for sentencing to 23 October and the judge ordered that in the meantime he should not attend any hunting event.

Mr Hill was filming the hunt on Exmoor to ensure it was complying with the law against hunting with hounds which was introduced in February last year.

Kevin Hill
They believe they can do what they do to animals and try to chase us away
Kevin Hill

He told the court that hunt follower Marles tried to take his camera, so he crouched to protect it.

"He started punching me," said Mr Hill. "On one occasion I saw his foot lift up.

"I am not sure where he kneed me or kicked me, but it was a tremendous blow.

"I was very frightened," he said.

The jury saw 17 minutes of video footage, which showed Marles confronting Mr Hill and then someone trying to take the camera from him, although at this stage the lens was pointing to the road and did not show the attacker.

After the case, Mr Hill, who said he had been attacked many times before, said: "We will not go away, we will not be driven away, we will always be there for the hunted animal.

"People have to be told what they do to us is not acceptable.

"There was a huge amount of arrogance in the hunting world, they believe they can do what they do to animals and try to chase us away."

Marles refused to comment after the case.

Tom Yandle, chairman of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, said after the case that the hunt did not condone any violence against hunt monitors.

He said: "It is unbelievable that anyone could behave like that.

"We get a fair amount of provocation from some campaigners, but our people have got quite used to it and laugh it off."

He added that Marles was not a member of the hunt.

"No-one knew him, he just came up from south Devon on the day."


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