A huntsman has been jailed after trampling a protester with his horse.

Christopher Mardles, 27, rode his horse in the direction of anti-hunting protesters after an altercation.

Mardles, previously from Petworth, West Sussex, hit a man in his 60s who later had to be airlifted to hospital with broken ribs, a split shoulder blade and nerve damage.

In a statement, Mardles’s victim said: “I still keep playing that moment over in my head all the time. I thought I was going to die, I really did.

“I was out to campaign, but I didn’t ask for that, I didn’t deserve that. I can’t understand that he was so unconcerned, that he didn’t even look back.


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“I keep seeing that moment and him just galloping on. I was screaming out in pain and they just carried on hunting.”

The incident took place while Mardles took part in the Pytchley Hunt in Northamptonshire in September 2020. The hunt dates back more than 300 years.

The Argus: Christopher MardlesChristopher Mardles (Image: Northamptonshire Police)

Mardles pleaded guilty to wounding in March. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Thursday at Nottingham Crown Court.

A spokesman for Northants Hunt Saboteurs said the result “set a serious precedent”, adding: “We can all raise a glass tonight knowing that at last a red-coated fox hunter will be eating cold porridge for breakfast.”

Northamptonshire Police DC Craig Copeland added: “I welcome the sentence handed out to Mardles today as his reckless actions that day could have had fatal consequences.

“The injuries he left this man with were extensive and he continues on his journey to recovery. I would like to thank him for his support during our investigation and I hope yesterday will give him some much-needed closure.

“This was quite a unique case to investigate however I hope it goes to show that Northamptonshire Police are equipped to deal with all kinds of incidents and will ensure justice is served whatever the circumstances.”