Page last updated at 17:31 GMT, Friday, 13 March 2009

Huntsman is jailed for assaults


A huntsman is sent to jail for six months for attacking two monitors

A Devon huntsman has been jailed for assaulting two animal rights monitors.

Christopher Marles, 48, of Farringdon, had earlier admitted using his horse to knock Helen Weeks to the ground as she filmed the East Devon Hunt.

He was serving a suspended sentence for attacking another hunt monitor when the second assault happened in March 2008.

Sentencing Marles at Exeter Crown Court to six months in jail for the offences, the judge said he had acted like an "arrogant, cowardly, drunken lout".

"I hope you are thoroughly ashamed of yourself," Recorder Ros Collins told Marles.

Previous conviction

In October 2006, Marles was sentenced to nine months, suspended for two years, for causing actual bodily harm to 58-year-old Kevin Hill.

Mr Hill was left with two black eyes and needed six stitches after being punched while filming the Devon and Somerset Staghounds.

In the attack in March, Ms Weeks was filming near Whimpole as Marles repeatedly rode his horse into her. The footage was shown in court.

She accepted he had not tried to physically hurt her but that his idea was to put fear into her.

Speaking after the hearing, Ms Weeks said: "I expected him to ride on by and he just turned his horse in one movement towards me.

"He didn't stop, he just carried on. He took the horse by surprise and the horse just went into my shoulder and pushed me into the ditch."

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