Cottesmore huntsman tramples hunt sab

Sam Jones of the Cottesmore Hunt pleads not guilty to assault and illegal hunting

Sam Jones, huntsman of the notorious Cottesmore Hunt, has plead not guilty to assault.

Jones appeared at Leicester Magistrates’ Court on 11 August. Police had charged him in July with common assault after his horse leapt a fence while a sab was standing on the other side. As a result, the horse hit the saboteur. Jones then rode off and continued hunting.

The incident took place on 11 February 2023, and was captured on video by Hertfordshire Hunt Saboteurs.

Appearing before magistrates on 11 August, Jones pleaded not guilty to common assault. He also pleaded not guilty to a separate charge under Section 1 of the Hunting Act, which occurred on 18 February 2023.

Magistrates set Jones’ trial date for November.

Cottesmore Hunt: plenty of previous

The Cottesmore Hunt has hit headlines for all the wrong reasons in recent years. In October 2022, Angela Jarrom committed a hit-and-run on saboteur Lisa Jaffray during a Cottesmore Hunt meet on her land.

Jarrom pleaded guilty in June to a diminished charge of actual bodily harm. Magistrates then handed her a six-month suspended sentence, an outcome that frustrated Jaffray. She told Protect the Wild at the time that:

“For me, her guilty plea hasn’t brought any closure.”

Earlier, in September 2021, Cottesmore Hunt supporters attacked sab Mel Broughton, throwing him from a gate. The incident left Broughton struggling to breathe and with two broken ribs. Riders with the hunt targeted Broughton again in December of the same year. Video released by Northants Hunt Saboteurs showed a member of the field charging into the sab with his horse.

Meanwhile, the hunt hit national headlines after sabs filmed former Cottesmore Hunt Pony Club manager Sarah Moulds abusing her horse. The incident happened in November 2021. She previously pleaded not guilty on two animal welfare charges, with her trial expected later this month.

It shouldn’t be this way

There’s been a slate of particularly violent incidents related to hunting in recent years. Saboteurs and monitors are often on the receiving end of this.

While such vicious acts are unlikely to deter most groups, it’s crucial to remember that they shouldn’t need to face such violence in the first place. Hunting is supposed to be banned. People should not still need to be out holding hunts accountable.

However, it’s clear that the Hunting Act has failed in its aims. It’s time Westminster took a leaf out of Scotland’s book and drafted a new law that will end hunting forever.

Support Protect the Wild’s call for a proper ban on hunting.

Featured image via The Independent/YouTube (originally via Hertfordshire Hunt Saboteurs)