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Call for regulation after death of grandmother caused by bolting horse

A coroner has asked the Department of Transport to address a lack of regulation surrounding carriage rides, after a grandmother was killed by an out-of-control horse and carriage at a country fair.

Coroner Dr Peter Dean was speaking on 12 October, at the conclusion of a two-week inquest at Bury St Edmunds’ Farmers’ Club into the death of 57-year-old Carole Bullett.

Mrs Bullett, who was partially-sighted, died from serious chest injuries after she was run over by the carriage at Nowton Park, Bury St Edmunds, on 19 June 2011.

“The evidence we have heard has highlighted the risks if the activity [the provision of carriage rides] is not regulated properly,” said Dr Dean.

The inquest heard conflicting evidence to explain why four-year-old Breton draft horse, Lucas, bolted.

His owner, Duncan Drye, said Lucas had been well behaved on the day of the incident, but other witnesses described the horse as “agitated”.

British Driving Society president John Parker, who was called as an expert witness, said the rides should have stopped an hour before Lucas bolted, as three of the horses being used for rides had become distressed.

He also said Lucas was too young to have been used in this way and neither Mr Drye nor his groom Sally Tyrell had enough training or experience to provide the rides.

It was also claimed that the horse’s bridle was removed shortly before he bolted.

A spokesman for Mrs Bullett’s family said: “It has been very distressing for them to hear of numerous failings.

“If they had been considered properly beforehand, then
the accident might never have happened.”

The Health and Safety Executive said it would review the case.

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (18 October 2012)

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