Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Farmer Timothy Wolfe 'killed biker on his land'

A farmer who pursued five off-road motorcyclists after they rode on his land killed one of them when his car toppled on to him, a court has heard.

Timothy Wolfe, 63, went after the group when he saw them cross his field in Hampshire, in October 2010.

He collided with one of the bikes, leading to the death of Gary Greaves, 48, of Arundel, West Sussex.

Mr Wolfe, of Ditcham, near Petersfield, denies manslaughter and causing actual bodily harm to another rider.

Prosecutor Ian Lawrie QC told Winchester Crown Court that Mr Wolfe, of Sunwood Farm, had had problems with off-road bikes before and was "upset and angry" about the bikers being on his land.

Green laning

He said the farmer had pursued them so he could "remonstrate" with them.

The group, mainly from West Sussex, had been riding on permissive paths - an activity known as green laning - but had become lost, the jury was told.

They had gone across the stubble field owned by Mr Wolfe to try to find another route, but found it blocked and so the men went back, the court heard.

They then turned on to a muddy track with Mr Wolfe in his Land Rover Discovery following behind.

Mr Lawrie told the court that the farmer had driven "recklessly, irresponsibly and too close and too fast", given the "muddy and greasy" conditions on the track.

The farmer collided with one of the riders, Andrew Kirkpatrick, who in turn collided with his friend Mr Greaves, on another trial bike.

The car toppled over on to Mr Greaves, pinning him under the vehicle.

His friends managed to push the Discovery off him, but he died despite attempts to save him.

Mr Kirkpatrick suffered minor injuries.

After the accident, Mr Wolfe was heard to say: "You were riding on my land."

Wanted to 'frighten'

Mr Lawrie added: "The Crown do not say that his purpose was to drive them into the ground, but he clearly went down there to have some form of remonstration with them.

"He was in pursuit of those motorcycles as they had left the field. He did not leave it there.

"He had gone there upset and angry. He wanted a confrontation, that did not work out as anticipated."

When arrested, Mr Wolfe told police he had wanted "to frighten them".

Mr Greaves had a lung condition that made being pinned under the vehicle much worse and it had been a factor in his death, a post-mortem examination found.

The leader of the bikers' group, Simon Frost, told the jury that the men had driven on tractor tracks and roads from Worthing on 30 October for a day of green laning, but the Petersfield area was uncharted territory.

A neighbour of Mr Wolfe, the Reverend Peter Mason, told the jury that many in the area considered the farmer to be "the fourth emergency service" as in the past he had been a good neighbour and a keen conservationist who had cleared snow and cut hedges for many.

Mr Wolfe is accused of the manslaughter of Mr Greaves, a builder and father-of-one, and causing actual bodily harm to Andrew Kirkpatrick by wanton and furious driving.

The trial is expected to last eight days.

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