Boxing Day Suffolk hunt protesters 'turned fox towards hounds'

Archibald Clifton Brown Image copyright East Anglia News Service
Image caption Archibald Clifton-Brown denies hunting a fox and a charge of assault

A group of hunt saboteurs turned a fox into the path of hounds with their "screaming and shouting", a court was told.

Christopher Amatt, 58, and Archibald Clifton-Brown, 19, deny hunting a fox in Great Thurlow, Suffolk, in December 2017. They also deny assault charges.

The district judge heard anti-hunt campaigners descended on the hunt near woods, from where the fox emerged.

Mr Amatt told the court he tried to stop the hounds from catching the fox.

'Fox turned back'

He told District Judge Nick Watson, sitting at Ipswich Crown Court, the saboteurs were coming towards the area where the fox appeared on 26 December.

"They were screaming and shouting. It's not used to that sort of noise in his face.

"It turned back to make its way to a part of the wood it knew but the hounds were there," he said.

Mr Amatt claimed once the hounds were coursing the fox and they were locked on, the only way to stop them was to get in front of them.

He said: "If you are going to shout at them you have to be in their faces and very impolite."

Image copyright Geograph/Keith Evans
Image caption The Boxing Day hunt was held in Great Thurlow, Suffolk, in December 2017

He told the district judge he "certainly" did not raise his whip at anyone or attempt to strike anyone with it.

Mr Amatt and Mr Clifton-Brown deny hunting a fox in breach of the Hunting Act 2004.

Mr Amatt, of Gaines Hall, Attleton Green, also denies assault and Mr Clifton-Brown, of Little Bradley Hall, Haverhill, denies assault by beating.

The trial continues.

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