Dead deer 'hung from witness's gate'

A FREELANCE writer, who draped a bloody deer carcass across the gate of a millionaire's home in an attempt to stop him testifying in a court case, has escaped a prison sentence.

A FREELANCE writer, who draped a bloody deer carcass across the gate of a millionaire's home in an attempt to stop him testifying in a court case, has escaped a prison sentence.

John Thurbin, 41, of Barningham, was trying to stop racehorse owner and professional tipster John Davey giving evidence against him in a drink-driving trial, Ipswich Crown Court was told yesterday .

Judge John Holt imposed a two-year community rehabilitation order after being told that Thurbin had mental health problems and was addicted to alcohol.

Thurbin, who hoped to become a proof reader for the cricketing reference book Wisden, was convicted of intimidating a witness at a trial earlier this month, the court heard.


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Judge Holt also imposed a six-month night-time curfew on Thurbin and ordered him to be electronically tagged.

"This offence deserves a prison sentence," the judge told Thurbin.

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"But it is also clear that you have personal problems, particularly your mental health and alcohol addiction.

"In the circumstances it seems to me that the public will be better served by me imposing a community rehabilitation order."

The jury had been told that Mr Davey's 10-year-old daughter found the dead muntjac deer outside the family home in Coney Weston in October.

Pinned to the deer was a note saying: "Enjoy."

Three weeks earlier Thurbin had blocked Mr Davey's car at a crossroads and told him: "I am going to get you."

Jurors were told that Mr Davey had been a witness to a road crash which led to Thurbin being charged with drink driving.

Thurbin later admitted the charge and was banned from driving for 18 months.

Robin Howard, for Thurbin, said in mitigation that his client had a serious alcohol problem.

"He has been sinking fast and has sunk far in a short time," said Mr Howard.

"He's not waving but drowning and the waters may close over his head entirely."

He said Thurbin, a former council personnel officer, was currently writing articles for an American newspaper and had applied for a job with Wisden.

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