'Arrogant' huntsman jailed

A passionate huntsman used his horse to knock a woman hunt monitor into a ditch as she was filming him.

A passionate huntsman used his horse to knock a woman hunt monitor into a ditch as she was filming him.At Exeter Crown Court, 47- year-old Christopher Marles admitted common assault on Helen Weekes and also admitted that he was in breach of a suspended sentence for assaulting another monitor at a previous hunt.He was jailed for six months by Recorder Ros Collins who told Marles: "You acted like an arrogant, cowardly drunken lout and I hope you are thoroughly ashamed of yourself. At the time of this offence you were on a suspended sentence for a similar attack and you are fortunate the injuries were not more serious."Prosecutor Lee Bremridge told the court Marles rode up to Miss Weekes as she was filming the East Devon Hunt in March last year near Broadclyst. As he approached her, he asked her what was going on and then said: "I've got to remember you don't like hunting."He used his horse to knock her backwards sending her flying into a ditch by the side of the road. She was shocked and scared and, as she climbed out of the ditch, Marles got his horse to move its head from side to side in front of her. Miss Weekes thought the animal was going to trample on her but when she asked him to stop, he used the horse to knock her into the ditch a second time.As she clambered out again, she saw that Marles was laughing and smiling at her. Then two other members of the hunt rode up and pinned her against her car. She thought she was going to be crushed as one of them tried to snatch her video camera from her.By this time, Miss Weekes was crying and she later went to hospital suffering from severe stomach pains and was given pain killers. She had trouble sleeping and was frightened and shocked at what had happened to her.Mr Bremridge showed a video to the court which showed Miss Weekes being knocked into the ditch when the horse's head came into contact with her shoulder. Another hunt monitor Graham Forsyth was also knocked into the same ditch before the hunt rode off.Mitigating, Ayse Vahib said Marles was full of remorse for what had happened and did not intend to harm Miss Weekes. She said hunting was a very emotive subject and the huntsmen did not think they should be filmed when they were not doing anything wrong. She said alcohol had played a part in this offence, with Marles having drunk three generous glasses of whisky before setting off on the hunt. Since the incident, he had stopped hunting which had been his passion all his life. He had also received threatening telephone calls and letters which were being investigated by the police.Marles, a farmer from New Buildings, Farringdon, was given three months for assaulting Miss Weekes and three months consecutive of