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Tostock: Parish council chairman denies dangerous driving after alleged fracas with pregnant neighbour over her horse being ridden on village green

14:43 11 April 2014

Tostock village

Tostock village

A Suffolk parish council chairman drove her car towards a pregnant woman during a row about her horse being ridden on a village green, it has been alleged.

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Eleanor Goffin, who was eight-and-a-half months pregnant, was allegedly forced to put her hands on the bonnet of Sheena Waitkins car because she thought it was going to hit her, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

She told the court that during the incident, which lasted around 20 minutes, Waitkins was screaming and had sounded her horn and revved her engine close to her horse, which was being ridden by her mother.

She said the incident had made her feel awful. “I thought I was going into labour. I thought I was going to die at one point,” she said.

Waitkins, 66, of The Green, Tostock has denied dangerous driving.

The alleged incident began shortly before midday on September 20 last year when Ms Goffin’s mother, Alison Duncan, was riding Ms Goffin’s horse “Chocolate” in the area of The Green in Tostock with Ms Goffin walking in front, said Lori Tucker, prosecuting.

Waitkins, who was walking her dog, allegedly shouted at them to get off the grass and words had been exchanged.

Shortly afterwards as Mrs Duncan and her daughter were on New Road, Waitkins had allegedly driven up “quickly” behind them and then overtaken them.

She had allegedly wound down her passenger window and started shouting at the pair to get off the road and more words were exchanged, said Miss Tucker.

Waitkins had allegedly then driven towards Ms Goffin who put her hands on the bonnet fearing she was going to be struck by the vehicle because it came so close to her.

Ms Goffin had shouted at Waitkins and took a picture of her car with her mobile phone and Waitkins had then allegedly got out of her car and started taking pictures and shouting at the two women, said Miss Tucker.

She claimed that during the incident Waitkins had followed the horse revving her engine and beeping her horn.

Cross-examined by Alan Wheetman for Waitkins, Ms Goffin said she was unaware of a bylaw in Tostock preventing horses from being ridden on The Green. She said she was also unaware that Waitkins was chairman of Tostock Parish Council.

Ms Goffin said her horse had only walked on the edge of The Green and she and her mother hadn’t thought they were doing anything wrong.

The trial continues today.

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