Mardles pleaded guilty to wounding at Nottingham Crown Court in March (Picture: SWNS / PA)
A 60-year-old protester had to be airlifted to hospital with severe injuries after a man rode his horse at him on purpose.
Christopher Mardles, 27, deliberately trampled the campaigner who was protesting against a hunt in Sibbertoft, Northamptonshire.
Another member of the group of protesters said they thought they were ‘going to die’ when they saw Mardles charges at them on the horse.
Mardles, who pleaded guilty to wounding at Nottingham Crown Court in March, has now been jailed after the victim was left with broken ribs, a broken collarbone and split shoulder blade and nerve damage.
The 27-year-old, who had been working for an organisation called Pytchley Hunt, has been sent down for 18 months after sentencing at the same court.
The hunt came across the Northants Hunt Saboteurs group protesting while they were out on September 5, 2020, the court heard.
Members of the hunt damaged body cameras and camcorders that the activists held before Mardles charged at the group.
Mardles was jailed for 18 months at Nottingham Crown Court (Picture: PA)
In his victim personal statement, one of the other protesters said: ‘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.’
Detective constable Craig Copeland, of Northamptonshire Police, said after the case: ‘I welcome the sentence handed out to Mardles today as his reckless actions that day could have had fatal consequences.
‘The injuries he left this man with were extensive and he continues on his journey to recovery.
‘I would like to thank him for his support during our investigation and I hope yesterday will give him some much-needed closure.
‘This was quite a unique case to investigate however I hope it goes to show that Northamptonshire Police are equipped to deal with all kinds of incidents and will ensure justice is served whatever the circumstances.’
A Northants Hunt Saboteurs spokesperson said: ‘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.’
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One protestor said he thought he was ‘going to die’ when the horse was charging at them.