Hunt supporter admits attack on saboteurs near Peterborough

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A hunt supporter smashed the windows of a car belonging to hunt saboteurs after he was ‘threatened’ a court was told.

Barry Watson (48) had been heading home after supporting the Oakley Hunt on February 10 when he came into contact with the Mistubishi Shogun carrying a number of saboteurs.

Barry Watson launches the attack on the sabs

Barry Watson launches the attack on the sabs

He was just a couple of miles from his Glatton home when he got out of his car carrying a torch, and smashed windows of the vehicle.

As the saboteurs drove off, he threw the torch after the car - but it went into the vehicle through a window and hit a man in the back.

Speaking outside court, a spokesman for the North Cambs Hunt Sabs said: "When all the vehicles finally came to a stop, Mr Watson leapt out and violently attacked his victims' vehicle with a blunt object, smashing three windows and injuring the occupants with brute force and broken glass from the shattered windows.

"After the shocking attack, the victims made their escape. However, he continued to chase them at high speed in his Land Rover, until the pursuit lead to Peterborough Police Station, when he fled the scene."

Yesterday (Wednesday) Watson, of Sawtry Road, Glatton, appeared at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court, where he pleaded guilty to criminal damage and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He was ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work, and ordered to pay £85 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.

A spokesman for the North Cambs Hunt Sabs said: "While we are disappointed with the leniency of the sentence, this reflects Mr Watson's guilty plea and acceptance of the charges."

Stephen Welford, defending, said: “Watson is a hunt supporter - he does not take part in it, but he goes and watches the hunt.

“On this day he had been out with the Oakley Hunt. He had spoken to the sabs earlier in the day. He was spoken to by one saboteur who said to him ‘we know who you are, your time has come.’”

Mr Welford said in the past Watson had received threatening phone calls to his home from hunt saboteurs.

Mr Welford said: “He had been threatened, abused and worn down.

“He came across this Shogun, and foolishly took matters into his own hands.

“This was entirely out of character and is a matter he regrets.”

The court heard Watson had caused more than £1,000 of damage to the car - however chair magistrate Hilary Shields heard the saboteurs had managed to raise the money through a crowdfunding website, and did not order compensation.”

Mrs Shields said she gave Watson credit for his early guilty plea, and said she had taken his previous good character into consideration.