Woman killed in Bury horse-bolt tragedy named

The family of a 57-year-old woman who died after a horse charged into crowds at a popular country fair were last night too shocked to speak of their loss.

Carole Bullett of Clark Walk in Bury St Edmunds, was critically injured when a runaway horse bolted through a busy avenue at Nowton Park Country Fair around 4.30pm on Sunday.

She was airlifted to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge where she died yesterday morning.

Council chiefs last night voiced their shock and issued their deepest sympathies to the woman's family.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and St Edmundsbury Borough Council, which was in charge of the fair, have launched an investigation to try and establish exactly what had happened.

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Council chief executive Geoff Rivers said: 'We are extremely saddened to hear that a member of the public has died following the horse and carriage bolting at Nowton Park Country Fair.

'Our deepest sympathies are with her family – our hearts go out to them.

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'It is a tremendous shock to us all that an event like this happened at such a hugely popular family activity and we are now working with the police and the HSE to find out exactly how this tragedy occurred.'

The cause of the horse bolting remains unclear.

Rumours that a loud bang or noise were to blame were quickly quashed by the council, which said there had been no loud bangs for at least two hours before the horse bolted.

It is understood the horse was tethered and with its handler prior to running off. When it bolted, it headed off first towards a parking area before turning around and heading back down towards the crowd.

Around 10 people suffered back and abdominal injuries - though seven of those who attended Bury's West Suffolk Hospital have been discharged.

A spokesman for the Health and Executive yesterday said it was investigating the matter because the incident happened on local authority land and because it involved a horse and cart which were used for business purposes.

A police spokeswoman said: 'It is for the HSE to investigate the circumstances and see if any action needs to be taken.

'We will assist the HSE by passing everything we have gathered thus far to them.'

The horse involved in the tragedy is understood to have been an animal rescued from the French meat market last year.

The horse and carriage outfit at Nowton Park Country Fair - which celebrated its 25th aniversary on Sunday - is run by Duncan Drye, owner of Carriage Tours of Bury St Edmunds.

Mr Drye brought horse and cart tours back to Bury last summer and they have proved very popular with the public.

It is understood the horse which bolted, with a cart attached, on Sunday was Lucas, a four-year-old Breton horse.

Set to be sold for meat at a market in Duras, he was rescued last September.

After months of care, attention and special training, Lucas joined Mr Drye's team of horses pulling visitors in carriage tours around the historic sights of the town.

Yesterday, Mr Drye, from the Horse and Carriage Company, issued a statement, saying: 'We are so sad to hear of the tragic death

'It's difficult to comprehend that such a terrible result should come from this event and our deepest sympathies are with the family.

'We are co-operating fully with the investigation which will try to establish exactly what's happened and we will not be making any further comments until the investigation is finished.'

Speaking in April about Lucas, Mr Drye said: 'Lucas has been fantastic. It's great to give him a new life.

'He ticks all the boxes because he's very fit and strong. He's patient and chilled out and can cope with the traffic.'

It remains unclear what might have caused the horse to bolt.

Any witnesses are being asked to call Suffolk Police on 01473 613500.

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