Page last updated at 13:12 GMT, Thursday, 8 May 2008 14:12 UK

Eventing firm in clear over death

Captain Mark Phillips' eventing company will not have to fight an appeal after a council accepted it played no part in the death of a quad bike passenger.

Equiland Ltd and two of its directors were charged with failing to discharge a duty after the 2005 accident at Princess Anne's Gatcombe Park estate.

Daniel Brookman, 20, died when the bike he was on crashed during a manoeuvre.

Stroud District Council has decided not to contest a judge's ruling that the charge should not be continued with.

Judge David Ticehurst said his decision was due to "an abuse of process".

In a written judgment, the judge noted that Stroud District Council, which brought the charges, had itself given Gatcombe Park a "clean bill of health" two days before the death.

The charge related to the company staff training policy for all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).

Defence barrister John Cooper said the case against the firm was "irredeemably flawed".

Safety will remain our primary concern
Captain Mark Phillips

Mr Cooper said: "On behalf of Equiland we want to say that our position, and that of Captain Mark Phillips, has always been that Gatcombe Park runs one of the finest equestrian events in the country."

The accident happened on 7 August 2005, the last day of the Festival of British Eventing which was part-organised by Equiland.

The company, based at Aston Farm, in Tetbury, Timothy Clayton, 66, of Wallingford, Oxfordshire, and Timothy Henson, 42, of Torksey, Lincolnshire, were awarded costs from central funds.

A statement issued by Equiland's directors, Capt Phillips and his wife Sandy, said: "We are very pleased that today, Stroud District Council as a prosecuting authority, have accepted the judge's ruling and will not be appealing his decision.

"This means we can now focus fully on preparations for the 2008 Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park, which will be held on August 1 to 3.

"Safety will remain our primary concern."




SEE ALSO
Royal company death trial halted
30 Apr 08 |  Gloucestershire
Quad bike death inquest concludes
15 Sep 06 |  Gloucestershire
Gatcombe death crash biker fined
03 May 06 |  Gloucestershire
Man is killed in quad bike crash
08 Aug 05 |  Gloucestershire

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