An animal lover - who stopped to help a fatally-wounded pregnant deer - has lashed out at the hit-and-run driver who left the animal to die in agony.

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Last Friday lunchtime, retired Peter Martin, 65, was driving through Knowle Village when he spotted a man on the side of the road, cradling something in his arms.

Peter, of Maunders Hill, Otterton, said: “Something just didn’t look right, so I stopped. I saw the deer and it was in a horrendous state.”

The man told him that just seconds before a motorist had hit the animal.

“Cars were whizzing past and the deer was scared, so I tried to calm it down, stroking its head.

“It was really hurt. The animal was trying to get up, but couldn’t. It was awful. We couldn’t just leave it there, so we carried it onto the grass at Lee Ford House.”

Peter called the police and asked for a vet to come out - but none was available.

So Peter called his wife, Elizabeth, who has a four-wheel-drive vehicle, and, under police escort, the Martins took it upon themselves to drive the deer to the surgery.

“My wife was in tears. She was so angry.

“The police couldn’t believe the driver didn’t even stop. Hitting something that size would have caused damage to any vehicle.”

Due to the severity of the deer’s injuries, the vet was forced to put the animal down

Peter added: “The whole family are really upset. To an leave animal to die like that, it’s pretty heartless.”

Dr Jochen Langbein, of the Deer Collisions project, said: “Many drivers don’t report collisions because they are not sure if they have commited a crime or not.

“Sadly, we see several hundred cases like this in Devon every year.”

A spokesman for the RSPCA said: “We urge drivers to slow down, take extra care and watch out, for the animal’s sake as well as their own.

“We ask anyone who sees an injured deer, or are themselves involved in a collision, to call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 for advice.”

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