On 9th November 2023, a foxhunter was sentenced to 18 months in prison for trampling a hunt sab with his horse. Christopher Mardles, who was riding with the Pytchley Hunt at the time of his attack, had pleaded guilty to a Section 20 wounding offence at a hearing at Nottingham Crown Court in March of this year. Chris Mardles is a former whipper-in at the Pytchley with Woodland Hunt in Northamptonshire.
On the morning of 5th September 2020, the Pytchley Hunt was in the Sibbertoft area near Market Harborough, Northamptonshire, UK, when they came upon a group of hunt saboteurs trying to save the local foxes. A spokesperson from the police explained what happened next: “An altercation ensued whereby body cameras and camcorders held by the protestors were damaged by members of the hunt, before Christopher Mardles, aged 27, previously of Petworth, West Sussex, rode his horse in the direction of members of the protest and collided with a man in his 60s. As a result of the incident, the man had to be airlifted to hospital with broken ribs, a broken collarbone, a split shoulder blade and nerve damage.”
In his victim’s personal statement, the anti-hunt campaigner wrote: “I still keep playing that moment over in my head all the time. I thought I was going to die, I really did. I was out to campaign, but I didn’t ask for that, I didn’t deserve that. I can’t understand that he was so unconcerned, that he didn’t even look back. I keep seeing that moment and him just galloping on. I was screaming out in pain and they just carried on hunting.”
Northants Sabs said about the sentence, “We would like to think that today’s victory and the hard work we have put into pursuing this case can now set a serious precedent for the future so that if we are to see more brutal violence handed out to saboteurs across the country, then this outcome can play its part in holding the law to account and forcing their hand to put violent fox hunters behind bars where they truly belong! This is a historic moment in the war to end fox hunting and we can all raise a glass tonight knowing that at last a red-coated fox hunter will be eating cold porridge for breakfast!”