Carriage ride owner sentenced after woman’s death at Suffolk country fair

This is the devastating moment when a horse bolted with its cart.

This is the devastating moment when a horse bolted with its cart. - Credit: Glenda Cole

The owner of a horse and carriage ride has been sentenced to community service after a grandmother died as a result of being struck by a runaway horse at a Suffolk country fair.

Duncan Drye coming out of Ipswich Crown Court.

Duncan Drye coming out of Ipswich Crown Court. - Credit: Archant

Carole Bullet, 57, was at the popular Nowton Park Country Fair in Bury St Edmunds on June 19, 2011 when she was hit by the horse and driverless carriage as they careered though a panicking crowd.

Mrs Bullet, of Clark Walk, Bury St Edmunds, suffered severe chest injuries and had to be airlifted to Addenbrooke's hospital in Cambridge, where she died the next day.

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Ipswich Crown Court heard today that the horse's bridle had been removed after a day providing rides for the public at the fair. Soon afterwards, something startled the animal and it bolted, hitting Mrs Bullet and injuring several other visitors to the fair.

The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

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Duncan Drye, of Bishops Road, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, was sentenced to 200 hours' community service after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council was found not guilty of the same breach at an earlier hearing.

After sentencing, HSE Inspector Malcolm Crowther said: 'This incident was entirely preventable. Because Mr Drye failed to take the necessary safety precautions, one woman needlessly lost her life and a number of others were injured.

'Horse and carriage rides can be run safely provided the proper control measures are in place. It is vital that operators are adequately trained and assessed before they are allowed to operate a ride in public.

'It is also vital that adequate risk assessments are carried out, and the ride is safely segregated from the public.'

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