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Last Updated: Monday, 15 May 2006, 11:12 GMT 12:12 UK
Huntsman spared jail over assault
Douglas Hill
Douglas Hill was convicted of three assault charges
A hunt master who spat blood at a police officer and hit two hunt protesters with a whip has been spared jail by a judge.

Farmer Douglas Hill, 63, of West Hanningfield, Essex, was ordered to do 250 hours of community work and pay a 250 fine by Witham magistrates.

Hill was convicted of assault, criminal damage and harassment at his trial in March this year.

The offences took place in March 2005 at the Essex and Farmers' Union Hunt.

Hill's barrister told District Judge Margaret Dodd: "He is precisely not the type of person that should go to prison."

Attempted arrest

Hill, who is joint master of the Essex Farmers' and Union Hunt, had denied any offence.

The judge was told Pc Craig Bolton had seen Hill assault hunt protesters and was attempting to arrest him.

Hill, who had suffered an injury during an altercation at the meeting, spat blood in the face of the officer and then wiped a bloody hand on the police officer's jacket.

Shortly afterwards Hill had struck protester Geoffrey Bradford, 20, and 26-year-old Sally Mitchell with his whip.

Ms Mitchell said outside court she was "bitterly disappointed" and complained the judge had let the police and the public down.


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