A man who punched a police horse, a police officer and a member of the public as trouble broke out after England’s World Cup semi-final defeat to Croatia in July has been given a community order.
Scott Spurling, 23, of Weston-Super-Mare, “got into an altercation” after the match, which he had been watching in a bar in Regent Street, Weston-Super-Mare. When a bystander tried to intervene, he was assaulted.
PC David Williams arrived at the scene riding police horse Quantock to disperse the crowd but Spurling punched the horse in the head. He then punched a police officer as he was arrested.
Spurling appeared at North Somerset Magistrates’ Court yesterday (6 September) and pleaded guilty to three charges: assault by beating, assaulting a police officer and causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.
The court heard Spurling accepted such physical contact would cause unnecessary suffering to an animal but there was no injury to Quantock, and that Spurling had felt he was in danger of being trampled by the horse having seen police horses used in other crowd-control situations.
Sergeant Edward Amor, of the Avon & Somerset Police mounted section, said: “We will not tolerate violence towards our staff, including any of our working animals.
“The body worn video was able to capture the incident despite the busy scene following the World Cup game. This helped us to present a compelling case which resulted in the defendant pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, alongside the other charges.
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“I’m pleased we were able to convict on this stronger charge – assaults on force animals is usually dealt with as criminal damage.”
Sergeant Amor confirmed that neither Quantock nor the police officer was injured in the assault by Spurling.
Spurling was sentenced to a 10-week community order and a 10-week curfew and ordered to pay £500 compensation to the member of public assaulted.
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