Bury St Edmunds: Council risk assessment ‘could have prevented’ runaway horse tragedy at country fair

The “catastrophic consequences” of a horse bolting into a crowd at a country fair, resulting in the death of a 57-year-old woman, could have been avoided if an adequate risk assessment had been carried out by a Suffolk council, it has been alleged.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council allegedly failed to take “simple” steps which would have ensured that horse and carriage rides at Nowton Park Country Fair were run safely and didn’t expose members of the public to risk, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

Jonathan Ashley-Norman, prosecuting, said the council had systems in place which required entertainment providers at events like the country fair to provide safety plans but had not sought such a policy from Duncan Drye who was running horse and carriage rides at the fair.

The court heard that Carole Bullett, of Clark Walk, Bury St Edmunds, died from serious chest injuries in Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, a day after being knocked down by a runaway horse and carriage at the country fair in June 2011.

The court heard that a four-year-old horse, which had been giving rides to visitors had thrown it’s head back and bolted moments after its bridle was removed.

Mrs Bullett , who was at the fair with members of her family, had her back to the runaway horse which Mr Ashley-Norman described as a “missile”.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council has denied breaching a health and safety regulation by failing to ensure that visitors to Nowton Park County Fair were not exposed to risks to their health and safety.

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Horse-and-carriage ride operator Mr Drye, 64, of Bishops Road, Bury St Edmunds has admitted the charge.

The trial which is expected to last two weeks continues.

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