Cottesmore huntsman tramples hunt sab

Cottesmore huntsman Sam Jones charged with assault

Cottesmore huntsman Sam Jones has finally been charged by the police after he trampled a hunt saboteur with his horse.

The incident took place on 11 February 2023. Jones was arrested on 14 February, and was finally charged with common assault on 14 July. He will appear in Leicester Magistrates’ Court on 11 August.

The police have also charged Jones with illegal hunting for a separate incident in Loddington a week later, on 18 February 2023.


Hertfordshire Sabs and Northants Hunt Saboteurs were on the ground, monitoring the hunt on the day that the person got trampled.

Hertfordshire Sabs reported:

“Sabs were keeping eyes on from a locked gate. Jones came up to the gate and sabs told him he’d have to go round. With one sab still sat on the gate and another moving away from it, Jones recklessly jumped his horse over the gate colliding with one sab, knocking them to the ground.”

After the incident, the Cottesmore Hunt tried to cover its back, releasing a statement blaming the hunt saboteur. The hunt said of the incident:

“it is clear to see that the previously stationary person moved, deliberately putting themselves in the path of the jumping horse, potentially causing injury to themselves, the horse and Sam.”

A lenient charge

Jones made a calculated decision that day to gallop at the hunt saboteur on his horse, knowing that it would risk the woman’s life. Despite this, Leicestershire Police have charged him with the lowest assault offence. If Jones is found guilty of common assault, he can, in theory, find himself with a prison sentence of up to six months, but is more likely to receive a fine. At the other end of the scale, if a person is charged with grievous bodily harm (GBH) – that is, when a person unlawfully assaults someone causing them ‘serious physical harm’ – they could face up to 16 years in prison if the court believes the offence was ‘aggravated’ and the offender intended to cause serious injury.

The police could have chosen to charge Jones with actual bodily harm or battery – which still aren’t as severe as GBH – but surely better reflect deliberately choosing to charge a horse at someone. And it was all caught on camera, too.

(For more information, our Protectors page on Assault and the Law breaks down the different types of assault that someone can be charged with.)

An extremely violent hunt

Northants Hunt Sabs believes that the Cottesmore is the most violent hunt in the country, and this latest attack by Jones isn’t an isolated incident.

On 25 October 2022, Cottesmore Hunt supporter Angela Jarrom targeted hunt saboteur Lisa Jaffray. After spotting Lisa, Jarrom got in her car and drove at speed at Lisa, hitting her from behind before speeding off. Jarrom pleaded guilty to the incident on 15 June 2023. The hunt insisted that “the incident did not involve any member of the Cottesmore Hunt.”

Protect The Wild reported at the time:

“Even the high-profile car incident, which made national news, didn’t give people associated with the hunt pause for thought. Later the same day, sabs faced further attacks. “I got put in a choke hold,” a spokesperson for Northants Hunt Saboteurs told Protect the Wild. “I ended up on the floor, the terrierman was on top of me and he punched me straight in the side of the head and smashed the camera.”

Saboteurs and monitors on the frontline of violence

Those on the ground, trying to stop hunting in its tracks, constantly put themselves in harm’s way in order to protect our wildlife. The number of attacks on sabs and monitors is truly shocking, and would make up a very, very long article if we covered all the incidents. Some recent attacks on sabs include:

  • In early July 2023, Wynnstay huntsman Chris Woodward pleaded guilty to causing intentional harassment, alarm or distress, an offence under the Public Order Act. The hunter rode his horse at a Cheshire Monitors volunteer during a fox hunting meet on 7 January 2023.
  • On 8 July 2023, A Duke of Buccleuch’s Hunt supporter pleaded guilty to two charges after spitting, shouting, and threatening to kill a member of Scottish Borders Hunt Saboteurs. The incident happened during hunting near Borthwickshiels on 17 September 2022.
  • On the 12 June 2023, Christopher Nixon, the Melbreak Hunt’s huntmaster, was convicted of the common assault of Darren Ward, and fined a total of £945. The assault by Nixon, who was challenged while walking with seven dogs on land owned by Mr Ward, was recorded on a phone and used as evidence in court.
  • In January 2023, monitors and hunt saboteurs faced a number of attacks by South Dorset Hunt supporters. On 12 January, murdered foxes were thrown into a hunt saboteur’s garden. On the same day an independent hunt monitor in his seventies was shot at by a South Dorset Hunt supporter, who used a catapult to fire a ball bearing at the man. Just weeks before, on 20 December 2022, a 77-year-old monitor was hospitalised when he was observing the hunt. Two masked-up men beat him around the head and body with a metal bar. The monitor needed stitches.


This list could go on and on. These incidents, spanning such a short space of time, show the pressure that hunt sabs and monitors face. It’s important that we support them in their hard work.

You can donate to Hertfordshire Hunt Sabs here, and to Northants Hunt Sabs here.

Featured image via Hertfordshire Hunt Sabs/screenshot