Grantham

Belvoir Hunt pays out nearly £50k to attack victims

A Grantham hunting group was forced to pay out £48,500 in compensation to two men who were attacked while filming their activities.

One of the victims is former policeman Darryl Cunnington, whose neck was broken in three places during the attack.

Roger Swaine is a field operator for the League Against Cruel Sports and was also injured before his camera and memory card were stolen.

The attack took place in March 2016 by a public bridleway near Stathern, but the Belvoir Hunt has never admitted fault for what happened.

Despite this, the hunt agreed to pay £37,500 in compensation to Darryl Cunnington and £11,000 to his colleague Roger Swaine at the start of civil proceedings.

Both victims were represented by campaigning solicitor Helen Clifford, who said: “High Court proceedings were issued against the Belvoir Hunt on the grounds that they were vicariously liable for the assaults and acts of harassment committed by the Grants.

“My clients’ compensation was paid by the hunt. Whilst liability was denied throughout, the payment of compensation by the hunt speaks for itself.

“No-one should be injured at work. Those who break the law should be held to account.”

George Grant, the Belvoir Hunt terrier man, and his son Thomas Grant both pleaded guilty at Leicester Crown Court in June last year in June 2018 to charges of grievous and actual bodily harm to Darryl Cunnington and Roger Swaine respectively.

They also pleaded guilty to the theft of a camera and criminal damage of a memory card.

Both received suspended custodial sentences for 13 months, ordered to perform 200 hours of unpaid work and pay a £500 victim surcharge.

Four other masked men who were believed to be involved in the attack have never been identified or brought to justice.

Darryl Cunnington had to take nine months off work, and both victims have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Andy Knott MBE, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “This violent response to our investigators from the Belvoir Hunt shows the lack of regard these people have for the law.

“It only serves to make us more determined to see the Hunting Act strengthened to end hunting with hounds for good.”

Hunting wild animals with dogs was banned by the Hunting Act 2004, which came into force in February 2005.

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