Stuart Radbourne

Depraved hunt master throws fox to hounds as child watches

Serial offender Stuart Radbourne has been sentenced for throwing a fox to hounds as a child watched. The dogs tore the live fox to shreds on Christmas Eve in 2020, and the incident was filmed and shared with others.

Radbourne, who was hunt master for the Avon Vale, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal – a crime under Section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. He was charged with being “jointly concerned with others” in the act.

Wiltshire Police’s Rural Crime Team stated:

Working closely with our partner the RSPCA we have seen the successful prosecution of former hunter-master of the Avon Vale Hunt for animal cruelty offences”.

Wiltshire Hunt Sabs wrote:

There would have been others involved in this henious act. They tortured this animal in front of a young child. Stuart Radbourne now has a nice long list of animal cruelty convictions under his belt, and still he has not been banned from keeping animals. What is it with the judiciary and hunting?”

A list of crimes

Radbourne’s name is now a regular in the media as he has become renowned for terrorising wildlife. He was one of three men charged under the Hunting Act for another horrific incident, which sparked national outrage when footage was aired on ITV News back in February. That time, Radbourne and another man pleaded guilty after footage showed the Avon Vale Hunt leaning into a freshly dug hole. A fox was then dropped into the pack of hounds to be ripped apart, while a second fox ran from the hole, and was then chased by more hounds. Hunt’s regulation authority, the British Hound Sports Association, subsequently expelled the Avon Vale, effectively making it nonoperational.

Before that, Radbourne was convicted of interfering with a badger sett back in 2013. In that incident, Radbourne was seen “waist-deep” in dirt.

Despite being one of the UK’s most notorious animal torturers, his most recent sentencing was measly. He was given an eighteen-week suspended sentence, meaning that if he isn’t caught committing another offence over the next year, he will escape prison. Over the next twelve months he must carry out 200 hours of unpaid work. He also has to pay £750 in court costs, as well as £128 to fund victim services.

As Wiltshire Sabs pointed out, Radbourne wasn’t banned from owning or keeping animals; the magistrates stated that a ban was “not necessary or proportionate”. This is, of course, absolutely ludicrous. The man clearly can’t be trusted to keep or be in control of dogs: he uses them as a tool to get his sick kicks.

As for his previous conviction of the act which shocked the nation, he was fined a ridiculous £384 for that, and was told to pay £42.50 costs, along with a £154 surcharge.

Foxes’ lives have no value

These sentences make a mockery of the very system that supposedly protects animals from harm. Under our current laws, foxes’ lives are worth absolutely nothing, and the judicial system can’t and won’t protect these defenceless animals from sick men like Radbourne.

We urgently need a change of law which will stop fox hunting for good. Protect the Wild argues that the Hunting Act should be replaced with our proposed Hunting of Mammals Bill, which would shut down any loopholes in the law and ban hunting forever. To read our proposed Bill, click here.

Featured image via SWNS