Bury St Edmunds horse death: Runaway risks 'not assessed'

Organisers of a country fair where a horse bolted and killed a woman had a safety plan based on "trust, assumption and hope", a court has heard.

Carole Bullett, 57, was hit by a horse and carriage at Nowton Park, Bury St Edmunds in June 2011.

The prosecution argued St Edmundsbury Borough Council did not carry out an adequate assessment.

At Ipswich Crown Court, the council, which ran the fair, denies breaching health and safety laws.

Ms Bullett died from chest injuries in Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge the day after being struck.

Horse and carriage rides were being offered by Duncan Drye, 65, of Bishops Road, Bury St Edmunds.

'Wholly inadequate'

Jonathan Ashley-Norman, prosecution counsel, told the jury the council's own guidelines said it should have got a risk assessment statement and safety plan from Drye ahead of the event.

It only received one after the accident, which the prosecution described as "a woeful document ... wholly inadequate".

The prosecution said the council's plan relied upon "trust, assumption and hope" and it failed in its duty to protect visitors to the event.

The jury heard the council had assumed Drye knew what he was doing because he already provided rides to the general public in Bury St Edmunds town centre.

Mr Ashley-Norman said horse and carriage rides had been held in a quieter area of the park in previous years and that there were no barriers in place to prevent horses without riders bolting to areas where the public might have been.

The prosecution said the jury would hear evidence from experts that the horse was three-and-a-half years old when the minimum age for a horse offering these rides should have been six years old.

Drye has already admitted a health and safety offence and is due to be sentenced at a later date.

The trial continues.

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