pilot feared fox hunter Trevor Morse 'intent on harming him'
Times Online by Steve Bird
helping animal rights activists told a jury he was “extremely frightened”
when a fox hunt supporter hemmed in his gyrocopter just minutes before his
head was cleaved from top to bottom by its rotors.
Griffiths said he feared that Trevor Morse was intent on harming him after
being spotted flying over the Warwickshire Hunt to see if it was illegally
a tense stand-off on a remote disused airfield, Mr Griffiths drove the microlight
forward but Mr Morse, 48, refused to move and was killed instantly when
hit by the 200mph rear propeller.
evidence at Birmingham Crown Court, Mr Griffiths, 55, said he was aware
that some hunt supporters were “absolutely livid” that he and
an animal rights activist were monitoring the hunt and both been warned
that people wanted to “shoot down” the aircraft.
hunter died 'after tense stand-off'
son at scene of gyrocopter decapitation
supporter's head 'cut in two by propeller'
Morse’s partner, Caroline, listened from the public gallery, Mr Griffiths,
who runs a heating engineering company, said he had been worried that he
would be targeted by hunt supporters after discovering photographs of his
gyrocopter and where it was kept posted on pro-hunt websites. “It
certainly made me realise that if ever I was in a position that they had
me or my aircraft things were not going to be good,” he said. He
added that John Curtin, whom he flew to film hunts, had claimed he had been
attacked at his Coventry home by three men with baseball bats.
said he was “too chicken” to observe hunts from the ground after
hearing how some people, even female pensioners, had been attacked by hunt
supporters. On March 9 last year, the last day of the hunting season, Mr
Griffiths said he believed he was shot at four times as he flew 1,000ft
above the huntsmen with their horses and hounds. “I saw a puff light
grey smoke coming up from the ground. My first thought was that it was a
shotgun,” he said. “It made me feel nervous.”
Mr Griffiths flew to Long Marston airfield, near Stratford-Upon-Avon, to
refuel he was quickly met by Mr Morse and his fellow hunt supporter, Julie
Sargeant. “My first reaction was that he has found me. He knows where
I am and now he’s telephoning for other people,” Mr Griffiths
continued. "He was walking up and down on his mobile phone. He was
a big man. I felt very frightened.”
said he asked two model airplane enthusiasts at the airfield to “stick
around” because he feared Mr Morse, who was 6ft 2ins tall, was intent
on “harm”. “I
thought he was bringing other people to the airfield. I felt this man was
bringing other people to the airfield. I was extremely fearful. My anxiety
at that point was through the roof.
primary concern was to get myself and the aircraft out of there as quickly
as possible.” Jurors
have been shown a “brutal” 90 second video of Mr Morse’s
final moments before he was struck by the 200mph rear propellers.
from Bedworth, Warwickshire, denies manslaughter. The trial continues.
monitor fears more violence 21/3/10 read
hunt monitor cleared 17/3/10 read
jury retires in gyrocopter case 16/3/10 read
jury sees film of hunt death 3/3/10 read
hunt thug death alternative view 11/3/09 read
man denies killing hunter 5/10/09 read
hunt monitor freed 24/4/09 read