Road-rage attack driver fined

A driver who reversed into a racehorse during a road rage attack 12 months ago has been fined £750

A motorist who reversed into a racehorse, breaking its leg and causing the horse to be destroyed has been fined £750, The Times newspaper reported today.

The incident, which provoked widespread concern and condemnation among HHO users, occurred in January 2001 when Toblersong, a promising five-year-old racehorse worth £6,000 trained by Surrey-based Brett Johnson, was in a string returning along the road from the gallops.

It was reported that the 55-year-old car driver, Stephan Lush, clashed with the trainer after being accused of passing the string of horses too fast and frightening them.

The driver, who is said to be “mortified” by the result of his actions, admitted recklessly destroying property. He was also ordered to pay £4,048 in costs and compensation.

Thomas Cleve for the prosecution, told Guildford Crown Court: “It is accepted that this defendant did not intentionally injure the animal.”

Jaki Bell, editor of HORSE magazine, which has an ongoing road safety awareness campaign, said: “Unfortunately it takes an event like this, which scars all parties involved, to bring the issue of equestrian road safety to popular attention.

“If any good has come out of this tragedy it’s that the authorities have taken it seriously and it may inspire other drivers to be cautious when encountering riders on the roads.

“However as riders we cannot sit back and relax. Much work needs to be done to make drivers and riders aware that we all have a place on the roads and must be considerate of each other. With this in mind, our Ride for Road Safety Campaign will continue into 2002 and beyond until we can see a reduction in the number of accidents that take place on the roads in this country.”

An online survey of HHO users in 2001 saw more than 70% admit that they had encountered serious problems with motorists while riding on the roads, with nearly half being abused by drivers on more than one occasion.

Click here to read more about the survey’s results.