, senior reporter
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
The former editor of the EDP’s equestrian page has criticised a magistrate’s decision to give a 16-month driving ban to a drink driver who killed the horses she was riding with her daughter.
Hayley Gibbs, 47, and her daughter Lily, 22, were riding their horses Rosemoor and Tuppence back to a livery yard near Ascot Racecourse following a hack in Windsor Great Park in December when they were hit from behind by a car being driven by a 41-year-old man.
The impact caused the pair to fly backwards from their horses and over the top of the car, landing on their backs in the road. Mrs Gibbs was left with multiple fractures to her face and wrist, while Lily suffered injuries to her back.
A third rider who was with them, Ian Smeeth, who owns the livery yard, was also thrown on to his back, but was not seriously injured and was able to help at the scene.
Both horses, which were bred in Norfolk, died from their injuries.
On Friday the driver pleaded guilty to drink driving and driving without due care and attention before Slough magistrates and received a 16-month driving ban and total fines of £1,332 for the two offences.
However, film prop co-ordinator Mrs Gibbs was unhappy about the sentence and said a friend of hers had received a longer 18-month driving ban just for drink driving. She believed the driver should have got at least a three-year driving ban.
“It is an absolute joke. I don’t feel like justice has been done. A friend of mine got a drink driving ban for over a year. For someone who was drunk and over the limit and go out and do what he did. He got a £1,300 fine, but it cost me more than that to remove the horses from the scene.”
Since the crash, she has not returned to her work at Shepperton Studios in Middlesex and she still has a splint on her wrist, which she was due to see a surgeon about this week with a view to possibly returning to work in March.
She has also not been able to resume riding and said the crash ruined the family Christmas, although her daughter is riding again, albeit away from the roads.
She added: “My husband and son have also been affected by it. It is just a trauma for the area and shops in our area have been selling out of fluorescent jackets for riders to go on the roads.”
In December, she said the family were devastated at the loss of the horses, which they had owned for 10 years and which had competed in the Horse of the Year show.
Mr and Mrs Gibbs have been renting a home in Berkshire while working in the film industry, though they still own a home at Forncett St Peter.