Blackmore and Sparkford Vale hunter found guilty of causing ABH

After a three day trial, Blackmore and Sparkford Vale (BSV) member Charlie Mayo, son of hunt master Anthony Mayo, has been found guilty of assaulting a hunt saboteur and causing actual bodily harm (ABH). The saboteur was so badly injured that he was hospitalised.

The assault, which North Dorset Hunt Saboteurs described as “unprovoked” and “cowardly”, took place back in December 2021. A jury at Bournemouth Crown Court unanimously found Mayo guilty, but he escaped going to prison.

A 3cm laceration on his scalp

The sabs described what happened that day:

“Two sabs advanced towards a gateway as hounds could be heard in cry further north. The first of three riders to make contact with sabs was Edward Doggrel, who used his horse to try and deter them. Clearly rattled, Charlie [Mayo] can he heard saying “you are not coming over the gate mate.” As those words are muttered, Edward Doggrel knocks the victim’s hat off his head with his whip. When the sab bends down to pick it up, Charlie Mayo reaches over the gate, then strikes the back of his head with the bone end of his whip. This caused a 3cm, full thickness laceration to the scalp that required glue and stitches at hospital.”


North Dorset Hunt Saboteur gets violently assaulted by BSV
The hunt saboteur was hospitalised by the assault. Photo by North Dorset Hunt Saboteurs


They explained how Mayo tried to wriggle his way out of a conviction:

“With body cam footage and a witness statement from the other sab present, Charlie was arrested a few weeks later, then de-arrested and asked to attend a voluntary interview. During his interview he claimed he remembered being there but did not assault, nor witness the other two hunt members assault our sab. At one stage he insinuated the injury could have been sustained earlier in the day, from ‘climbing through a hedge or fence’!

Not wanting to disclose the identity of the third male present, the only person who could have fought his corner was Edward Doggrel. Interestingly, prosecution nor defence chose to call ‘Ed’ as a witness, because his statement was so uncredible and full of lies (the judges words, not ours!) it would have been pointless. Under cross examination, defence desperately tried to discredit the sab who witnessed the attack, claiming they did not in fact see who the attacker was. The difference being, their witness statement was factual and accurate!”

Notorious Mayo family…

Mayo escaped a custodial sentence, with the judge describing the thug as a “man of good character”. Mayo is being forced to pay court costs and pay damages to the sab who was attacked.

North Dorset Sabs pointed out that the Mayo family is far from “of good character”:

“Both Charlie and his other brother, who rides with the hunt, have form for being arrogant, foul mouthed and violent on a weekly basis. Several assaults at the hands of Charlie have taken place since this one in 2021. Although plenty reported to the police, they were deemed to not have enough video evidence to pursue.”


Charlie Mayo
Charlie Mayo. Photo by North Dorset Hunt Saboteurs

The Mayos also have a disturbing history of intimidation and harassment of monitors from Somerset Wildlife Crime.

In 2020 while attending a meet of the BSV, one of those monitors recorded Charlie Mayo (on a brown horse), his brother Henry Mayo (on a grey), and huntsman father Anthony Mayo riding down a country road. As the video shows, the monitor is walking peaceably along a narrow verge when the two brothers pull their horses towards the monitor blocking the way forward. Moments later their father rides into the monitor from behind sending them sprawling into the mud and causing severe bruising.


Dorest Police arrived after the assault. The Mayos denied touching the monitor, and the Police took a ‘nothing to see here’ approach to the ‘gentleman farmer’ and his sons, deciding the video evidence wasn’t strong enough to identify the people involved.

In another video we were sent from a few weeks later, Charlie Mayo (memorably described by one monitor we spoke to as a ‘baby-faced c***’) is seen mocking the monitors and smirking that it is ‘nice to see’ the monitor back on their feet.

Which part of any of this pattern of violence, we’d like to ask the judge, suggests ‘good character’?

A notorious hunt

The BSV itself (which is registered as a business with Anthony Mayo listed as Director) is no stranger to controversy. It was suspended – albeit briefly – by hunt’s governing body, the British Hound Sports Association, after drone footage of the hunt murdering a fox appeared on Channel 4 News. The video, which was captured on 4 December 2023, shows the hunt master and other staff watch on, doing nothing to call the hounds off. They make sure that they retrieve the fox’s mauled body afterwards. Also in the 2023/24 season, the BSV murdered or dug out three foxes within one week.

And Protect the Wild’s report, Hunting: A Case For Change, gives statistics for the season before that. The report showed that the BSV chased at least 30 foxes during the 2022/23 season, and killed at least four. Also in that season, we found that the hunt or its followers carried out 11 minor attacks on people monitoring its illegal activities. On top of this, a member of the public was airlifted to hospital “after being seriously injured” while defending their cat from the BSV’s hounds.


The Blackmore and Sparkford Vale hounds kill a fox. Drone footage by North Dorset Sabs
The Blackmore and Sparkford Vale hounds kill a fox on 4 December 2023. Drone footage by North Dorset Sabs

Small justice

It is vital that we have groups like North Dorset Hunt Sabs on the ground, monitoring and sabbing this hunt which continues to act like it is above the law. This latest conviction doesn’t give any justice to the countless foxes the BSV has murdered or terrorised, but it does, at least, give some to the victim who was attacked. He stated:

“Justice has finally been served. The jury’s unanimous decision evidently represents the wider public’s increasing disdain for hunting. It is yet another nail in coffin for the thuggish BSV and for hunting as a whole, the culture is crumbling, and they know it. The scar on my head will forever serve as a reminder that no matter what violent, desperate, below the belt tactics the hunt use, we will never stop protecting wildlife. I want to thank my comrades at NDHS for their ongoing support, the Hunt Saboteurs Association in general, and everyone who has shown their support, love and respect throughout.”

Donate to North Dorset Sabs

The sabs are asking for your support to provide them with vital equipment as they continue to put their lives on the line to stop the BSV from killing foxes. The group said:

“When we ask for your help to raise funds for equipment, this is a prime example of what we need it for. Bodycams! Even the police frequently tell us, if every sab was equipped with one, it would make evidence gathering so much easier. So if you are in a position to contribute, you can do so here.”