Devon huntsman fined £1,700 for threatening saboteur

Jason Marles with riding crop and horse Image copyright Irving of Exeter
Image caption Jason Marles rode on horseback towards a female saboteur and made threats, the court found

A huntsman who threatened an anti-hunting protester with a riding crop has been fined more than £1,700.

Jason Marles, 37, from Devon was found guilty earlier this month of using threatening and abusive behaviour to cause harassment, alarm and distress.

Magistrates in Exeter said he had "seen red and lost control" and included £150 victim compensation in the fine.

Saboteur Jessica Groling suffered a bruised liver and had to be airlifted to hospital in December.

Footage filmed by Ms Groling showed Marles riding his horse at speed towards her and a fellow saboteur.

"I thought he is going to trample us" Ms Groling, told the court.

He then dismounted and grappled with Ms Groling, forcefully removing an antique hunting horn she had been using to distract the hunt's hounds, the court was told.

She claimed Marles "stabbed my abdomen with his riding crop", causing a liver injury which required a week to recover from.

Marles admitted he took the instrument from Ms Groling, but denied he was angry.

Marles said he had been harassed by masked saboteurs for more than a year and while he had no complaints against "peaceful protest" he saw "no point interacting" with saboteurs.

The court heard the saboteurs wanted to save a fox, but the magistrates said there was no assertion that illegal hunting was under way at the time.

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