Negligent Motorist Receives Suspended Sentence for Fatal Consequences Involving Horse
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Negligent Motorist Receives Suspended Sentence for Fatal Consequences Involving Horse

Sep 1, 2023

A 24-Year-Old Man Receives Suspended Sentence for Careless Driving Resulting in Horse’s Euthanasia

In a regrettable incident near Newent, Alex Cole, aged 24, was sentenced to a suspended term after his reckless driving led to the euthanasia of a horse. Cole fled the scene of the collision, subsequently setting his vehicle ablaze in an attempt to conceal his involvement.

The incident occurred on March 7th last year at around 4 pm when Cole’s Vauxhall Astra van collided with a horse on a leisurely ride in Clifford’s Mesne village. The collision caused the rider, a 19-year-old woman, to be thrown from the horse into a hedge and then onto the road.

The injured horse, Chunk, known for its good behavior around traffic, initially fled the scene but later returned and was transported to stables. Despite veterinary attention, Chunk had suffered a fractured pelvis and had to be euthanized.

Shortly after the collision, Cole drove to Judge’s Lane nearby and used the fuel already in his vehicle to set it on fire. Later that day at 6:19 pm, he reported to the police that his vehicle had been stolen by a prospective scrap buyer.

Cole, residing at Bartwood Lane, Pontshill in Ross-on-Wye, was apprehended three days later. During his initial interview, he persisted in his false claim that the vehicle had been stolen. However, several days later, he confessed to being the driver.

He asserted that the collision was caused by sun glare impairing his vision, a claim Judge Ian Lawrie KC did not accept, dismissing the notion of temporary blindness.

The rider suffered a bruised knee, hip, and elbow, as well as a spinal fracture, which was discovered in a later MRI scan. She is still undergoing therapy and has given up riding due to the traumatic experience.

The victim’s mother stated in court, “It’s completely changed her life… She’s lost her best friend and her passion, so her life has changed forever.”

A statement from the victim read in court expressed her emotional turmoil and the profound impact of losing Chunk.

In his defense, Cole’s barrister acknowledged his client’s remorse and argued that his actions were driven by sheer panic and foolishness.

Originally scheduled for trial on July 12th at Gloucester Crown Court, Cole pleaded guilty on the first day to perverting the course of justice, careless driving, and failing to stop at the scene.

Judge Lawrie KC characterized Cole’s actions as cowardly and displaying a callous disregard for the victim and her horse. Cole received a 13-month suspended sentence for perverting the course of justice, along with 18 months of probation, 250 hours of unpaid work, and was ordered to pay £1,500 in costs and a £156 surcharge within 28 days.

For careless driving, he received six penalty points on his license and a £2,500 fine, with no separate penalty for failing to stop at the scene.

PC Rob Bolland from the Specialist Operations Unit remarked, “Pets are part of the family, and Cole’s careless driving led to a much-loved horse being euthanized… No sentence will bring Chunk back for the family.”

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