'Tug of war' over dead fox at Great Thurlow Boxing Day hunt

Archibald Clifton Brown Image copyright East Anglia News Service
Image caption Archibald Clifton Brown denies hunting a fox and a charge of assault

A huntsman and protestor struggled over a dead fox in a "tug of war" when the animal was killed in a Boxing Day hunt, a court heard.

Christopher Amatt, 58, and Archibald Clifton-Brown, 19, deny hunting a fox in Great Thurlow, Suffolk, in December 2017. They also deny assault charges.

The district judge was told members of a hunt saboteurs group tried to prevent the fox from being caught and took the dead animal as evidence.

The trial is due to last three days.

During the first day of the trial, District Judge Nick Watson, sitting at Ipswich Crown Court, was shown video footage of what was described as a "chaotic scene".

Image copyright Geograph/Keith Evans
Image caption The Boxing Day hunt was held in Great Thurlow, Suffolk, on 26 December 2017

Members of the Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire Hunt Saboteurs Association and the North Cambs Hunt Sabs were present to monitor the Thurlow hunt, the court was told.

They heard the "chilling" sound of hounds on the scent of a fox and tried to get the huntsman to call the dogs back, the court heard.

In the video footage, strong language was used by both parties.

Anti-hunt campaigner Steven Milton told the court the huntsman had been shouting "on, on, on, come on" to the hounds in an "encouraging" way.

'Bear hug'

He said the huntsman and whipper, whose role it is to assist the huntsman with the pack, tried to prevent Mr Milton from retrieving the dead fox.

Mr Milton said he was grabbed and "held in a bear hug" by Mr Clifton-Brown with whom he was in a "tug of war" over the dead fox.

Defendants Mr Amatt and Mr Clifton-Brown claim the saboteurs had blocked the path of the fox, causing it to turn back to the hounds.

They deny hunting a fox in breach of the Hunting Act 2004.

Mr Amatt, of Gaines Hall, Attleton Green, also denies assault and Mr Clifton-Brown, of Little Bradley Hall, Haverhill, denies assault by beating.

The trial continues.

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