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Blackmore and Sparkford Vale huntsman cleared of GBH charge

Nicola Rawson as she was being hurt by the horse Image copyright International fund for Animal welfare
Image caption Hunt protester Nicola Rawson was injured when she was struck by a horse in August 2014

A huntsman has been cleared of deliberately injuring a hunt saboteur when his horse hit her.

Nicola Rawson, 43, suffered seven broken ribs and a punctured lung at the hunt in Somerset in August 2014.

Peter Doggrell, 46, of Bishops Down, Sherborne, was found not guilty by a jury of maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Taunton Crown Court was shown a video recording of the incident during the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt.

'Glancing blow'

The dash cam video, recorded by the saboteurs, showed Mr Doggrell riding into the field and hitting Miss Rawson.

The prosecution claimed he had up to 15 seconds to see the saboteurs' Land Rover and was riding hard in a "reckless act".

Mr Doggrell told the jury he did not see the Dorset hunt saboteurs in the field nor hear their horn which was being used to distract the 45 hounds.

He also denied being irritated or annoyed by the disruption to what was a children's drag hunt and also denied knowing the saboteurs were out.

The jury heard Mr Doggrell rode on after Ms Rawson was hit. He told police he thought it was a "glancing blow" and did not realise she had been hurt until 20 minutes later.

Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt covers Somerset and Dorset, with the nearest villages and towns being Sparkford in Somerset, and Sturminster Newton to the south, in Dorset.

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