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Last Updated: Friday, 9 November 2007, 13:09 GMT
Man avoids jail after hunt attack
An elderly hunt supporter who broke the arm of a protester when he attacked her with his stick has avoided jail.

John Hawkins was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm at an earlier trial, and was given a suspended jail term at Hove Crown Court on Friday.

Hawkins, 69, of Cowfold, Sussex, struck Lynn Phillips during clashes at a hunt near Horsham in January 2005.

Trouble had flared between pro and anti hunt supporters at Spear Hill at the end of the Crawley and Horsham hunt.

Struck twice

Ms Phillips said she was approached and struck twice on the head and hand by Hawkins when she was looking for a dog she believed was injured.

An X-ray two days later revealed she had a broken arm, the court heard.

Andrew Selby, defending, said it was a "spur of the moment" reaction and Hawkins deeply regretted the incident.

Recorder Heather Norton told Hawkins: "Your action to strike Lynn Phillips deliberately with your stick takes this case over the threshold of the imposition of a custodial sentence.

"However, in my judgment, the exceptional circumstances permits me to suspend the order of imprisonment that I will impose."

She sentenced him to eight months imprisonment, which was suspended for a year.

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