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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 October 2005, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
Hunt master beat three protesters
Simon Upton was filmed attacking the anti-hunt protestors
Video of Simon Upton's attacks were shown in court
An attack on anti-hunt protesters has cost a hunt master more than 1,500 in compensation, fines and costs.

Simon Upton, 40, of Margaretting, Essex, felled one demonstrator by riding at him and hit another twice on the head, Basildon magistrates heard.

Upton, joint master of the Essex Hunt, also abused the seven-strong group as he circled them in a field in Navestock on 9 February.

Upton admitted three counts of assault by beating and was fined 750.

Mr Upton charged his horse into the members of the group in order to split them up and to separate them out
Charlotte Eadie, prosecuting

Farmer Upton was told he used "aggressive" force by magistrates' chairman Peter Sampson who also ordered him to pay compensation to the three victims.

The court was shown a four-minute video with Upton, dressed in full hunt regalia, charging around on a horse.

In the clip, the huntsman is heard saying: "Ah, we meet again," before his horse starts to canter around and through the group.

Charlotte Eadie, prosecuting, said: "Mr Upton charged his horse into the members of the group in order to split them up and to separate them out.

"After knocking Mr (Tim) Burn to the ground and bruising a second man, Upton struck out at Miss (Melissa) Marr."

Miss Marr was hit twice on the head.

Matthew Knight, defending, said his client accepted his actions were unacceptable but insisted he was trying to defend the property from disruptive trespassers.

'Peaceful protest'

Mr Sampson fined Upton 300 for assaulting Miss Marr and ordered him to pay her 150 compensation.

The huntsman was also ordered to pay 225 for each of the other assaults and to pay the other two protesters 100 compensation. With court costs of 455, the total came to 1,555.

After the hearing Miss Marr, of Kilburn, north London, said she was pleased with the fine but said she had been appalled that their peaceful protest had turned violent.

Mr Burn, a lighting designer from Islington, said he believed a community service order should have been imposed for the "very violent and unprovoked attack" on a peaceful protest.


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