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West Norfolk Foxhounds kill fox on patio

Four hunters plead not guilty after hounds kill fox in private garden

Four men from the West Norfolk Foxhounds have pleaded not guilty at Norwich Magistrates’ Court. Three were charged with various offences after hounds tore apart a fox in a residential garden in Hingham, Norfolk, on 20 February 2023.

The men have also been charged, along with another man, for a separate hunting incident in Tittleshall, Norfolk, on 8 February 2023.

Norfolk/Suffolk Hunt Saboteurs stated:

“Andrew Kendall, Edward (Mikey) Bell, Adam Egginton and Robert Gurney (who failed to attend) pleaded not guilty to 25 charges brought against them under;
The Hunting Act,
The Dangerous Dogs Act,
The Criminal Damage Act &
The Serious Crime Act.
The trial has been set for the 15th – 18th July 2024 at Great Yarmouth Magistrates Court.”

ITV News broke down the multiple charges, reporting that huntsman Edward Bell, whipper-in Adam Egginton, and joint master Andrew Kendall have all been charged with:

  • Three counts of criminal damage to the property in Hingham on 20 February;

  • Two counts of owning or being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control in Hingham on 20 February and Tittleshall in Norfolk on 8 February;

  • Two counts of hunting a wild mammal with dogs in Hingham on 20 February and Tittleshall on 8 February.

Meanwhile, fellow joint master Robert Gurney (of the prominent Gurney family) was also charged with hunting a wild mammal with dogs, and for being the owner or person in charge of a dog dangerously out of control on 8 February.

Sickening

The incident in Hingham shows how hunts act when they think they won’t be caught. The footage shows the hounds cornering and tearing up the fox on the patio. The terrierman then scales a fence, trespasses into the family’s garden, retrieves the fox’s dead body, and then rushes out of the garden gate. He then tries to conceal the fox under his jacket.

After the incident, Jay and Daisy, whose garden was invaded by the hounds, spoke to ITV News. Daisy said:

“They left our patio covered in blood and intestine and kidney from the fox, they took the fox body and discreetly took it away, he [the terrierman] put it inside his coat and then walked to the end of the driveway with it and passed it off to the quad bike that had no plates that was driving on the road.”

The men were given bail conditions, but these conditions don’t prevent them from hunting again before the trail. Norfolk/Suffolk Sabs wrote:

“The current bail conditions of Kendall, Bell & Egginton have been amended to allow them to hunt again, however the condition not to interfere with named trial witnesses remains in place.”

Murdering foxes and terrorising sabs

West Norfolk Foxhounds are no different to other hunts around the country: they continue to break the law, assuming they’ll get away with hunting foxes with impunity. Norfolk/Suffolk Sabs have said that they have:

“observed and recorded them routinely hunting outside of the law as well as a litany of associated crimes.”

This latest plea hearing is the second time in the space of a few weeks where West Norfolk Foxhounds have found themselves in the dock. Jack Taylor pleaded guilty on 5 May to criminal damage in November 2022 after riding a quad bike at sabs. The sabs wrote:

“Taylor came hurtling towards sabs on his quad playing the customary reckless game of ‘chicken’ swerving just feet away. He sped past, jumped off the quad and slashed the tyres of a family car in full view of saboteurs, hunt staff and paying riders.”
They continued:
“In 2021, their terrierman Steven Reynolds drove his quad into a female sab who had caught him digging into a fox den. Two days later he violently attacked her whilst she sat alone in a layby in the dark.”
The four men’s current bail conditions mean that the West Norfolk Foxhounds (which changed its name to a more palatable WNTH Ltd on Companies House last month) will almost certainly continue to terrorise foxes until the trial in 2024. It will be down to hunt sabs on the ground to try to stop them and to capture footage of them breaking the law once again.
You can support the Norfolk/Suffolk Sabs by donating to them here.
Featured image via ITV News/screenshot