sees 'gruesome' film of hunt man being killed by copter blade during row
Bryan Griffiths leaves Birmingham Crown Court where he is accused of killing
a hunt supporter A fox hunting supporter's head was cleaved from 'top to
bottom' by the blades of a gyrocopter after he tried to confront the pilot
for tracking his hunt, a court heard today. Jurors watched in horror as
a gruesome video showing the last seconds of Trevor Morse's life were played
to a hushed courtroom.
48, was killed instantly after being hit by the rear propellers of the gyrocopter,
being piloted by Bryan Griffiths, which were rotating at 200mph.
Crown Court heard that Mr Morse had been trying to stop Griffiths from taking
off again after he stopped to refuel. Griffiths had been monitoring the
hunt from his gyrocopter - a small open helicopter - and was confronted
by Mr Morse and another hunt supporter. Mr Morse refused to move out of
the way as Griffiths went towards him and the rear propeller of the gyrocopter
cut Mr Morse's head from top to bottom, the court heard.
Gareth Evans QC told the court: 'Just under a year ago, on March 9, 2009,
a 48-year-old man called Trevor Morse, who was deliberately trying to stop
a gyrocopter taking off, was killed.
was killed when his head was struck by the rear propeller blade of the gyrocopter.
'That gyrocopter was being driven by this defendant along the runway of
Long Marston airfield in Warwickshire. 'The blade of the rear propeller
cleaved Mr Morse's head from top to bottom. 'Mercifully, death was instantaneous.
'The prosecution say that this man, the defendant, is criminally liable
for this death. 'We say that he is guilty of manslaughter, we say that he
caused Trevor Morse's death by his own gross negligence.' Mr Evans said
Griffiths deliberately drove the gyrocopter at Mr Morse, with the rear propeller
spinning at a speed approaching 200mph.
'Doing so, we say, was reckless in the extreme because the manoeuvre carried
with it a very, very real risk that Mr Morse would come into contact with
the revolving, unguarded rear propeller blades of the gyrocopter.'
court heard Mr Morse was acting as a road monitor on March 3 last year during
the last day of the hunting season for the Warwickshire Hunt.
said Griffiths owned the gyrocopter and although he was not an anti-hunt
activist, had previously flown the machine above the hunt to monitor their
actions, often with a passenger filming them. On that day, when Mr Morse
spotted the gyrocopter heading off towards Long Marston airfield to refuel,
he got in a Land Rover with a fellow hunt supporter to confront the pilot.
Morse died when the blade from a gyrocopter hit his head When they were
at the airfield, Mr Morse tried to stop Griffiths taking off by standing
in front of the gyrocopter.
to move out of the way, and as Griffiths drove forwards in the gyrocopter
the rear propeller caught Mr Morse, cutting his head from top to bottom.
jury was shown an edited video of the stand-off between Mr Morse and Griffiths
- caught on camera by the pilot's passenger. As he refuses to move out of
the way, a voice can be heard to say to Mr Morse: 'You are obstructing him
taking off, you have no right to do that, you have no right to do that.'
The video shows Mr Morse enlisting the help of the woman, who cannot be
named for legal reasons, to come and stand in the way of the gyrocopter.
propellers can be heard to speed up, followed by a bang. The video shown
to the jury was cut at the point the propeller hit Mr Morse, then cut again
to see him lying on the ground. A voice can then be heard to say: 'Oh dear,
the t*** didn't stand clear of it.'
said it was quite clear Griffiths wanted to leave, and also clear Mr Morse
was not willing to let him leave. He said: 'There is no doubt about it.
His intention was stopping that gyrocopter from taking off.'He was not standing
there for the good of his health. 'At one stage he moved the Land Rover
closer to the gyrocopter to stop it getting away in an attempt to block
its getaway. 'He made it plain that he was obstructing that gyrocopter's
take-off and when asked to get out of the way he refused to do so.' Mr Evans
said Griffiths had not gently inched towards Mr Morse, but had travelled
'This was not a general nudging movement. It was carried out, we say, at
speed. This was no inching movement.'
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