'He should have got hard labour” - man spared jail for attack that ends career of para show jumper
PUBLISHED: 07:49 22 November 2018 | UPDATED: 14:51 22 November 2018
© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2015
A paralympic show jumper has had to retire from competitions after she was assaulted outside her home.
Susi Rogers-Hartley, 52, was attacked outside her home at Wiggenhall St Mary, near King’s Lynn, on August 17.
Norwich Crown Court today heard she was dragged from her wheelchair during a neighbourly dispute.
Kyle Fenton, 20, was sentenced to nine months in a young offenders’ institution suspended for nine months. He was also ordered to do 150 hours unpaid work.
An earlier hearing was told Fenton was arguing with Ms Rogers-Hartley with a crowbar in his hand. She said he broke the control stick on her wheelchair and aimed the crowbar at Ms Rogers-Hartley’s head, to which she grabbed onto. A struggle ensued and she was pulled out of the wheelchair, dragged across the road on her front and flipped over on her back.
Fenton had earlier been warned he faced jail after being convicted of assault, threatening behaviour and possessing an offensive weapon by magistrates, who sent him to the crown court to be sentenced.
After the hearing, wheelchair-bound Ms Rogers-Hartley said: “It’s completely unjust. That’s why he got sent to the crown court, because it could sentence him to more than nine months.
“It’s pathetic the law system now, it’s pathetic. He should have got hard labour.” Ms Rogers-Hartley became wheelchair-bound 20 years ago after suffering a spinal injury when she fell from an assault course during training in the Royal Navy.
But she was determined her disability would not end her lifelong love of riding.
She went on to compete and win against able-bodied riders in most disciplines, as well as become the only permanent wheelchair user to represent Great Britain in para show jumping.
In 2014, she also starred in a Lloyds Bank commercial, where she was filmed climbing onto a horse and galloping off through the woods.
While disability has not curtailed her riding, she fears the attack might.
“It’s twisted all the ligaments and tendons so I can’t close my hands, they’re ever so sore and painful,” she said. “I’m getting arthritic now because of it.
“I’ve had to change the way I ride so I’ve had to give up show jumping and dressage so I’m out of the paralympics.”