A woman died after a loose horse went on the rampage at a busy country fair in Suffolk last weekend (19 June).
Seven other people sustained injuries in the carnage that ensued at Nowton Park in Bury St Edmunds, after the horse, understood to be a Breton gelding, bolted into panicked crowds while hitched to a carriage that had been giving rides during the day.
Carole Bullett, 57, was airlifted to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge for treatment, but died from her injuries.
A spokesman for organisers St Edmundsbury Borough Council told H&H: “We are in the very early stages of an investigation with the police and the Health and Safety Executive and are appealing for witnesses to come forward.
“But we do know that the horse had been giving carriage rides during the day and was standing, being held by someone, when something happened to frighten it. It ran off, initially into the car park area away from the crowds. But then it made its way back into the event and ran down the main avenue, where everyone was enjoying themselves.”
Spectators reported seeing people throwing themselves out of the way of the horse, including one woman who flung herself out of her wheelchair, and a dog being run over.
Eyewitness Jon Kydd said: “Everyone was screaming for people to get out of the way. One lady tried to move, but it was too late. The horse, then the cart, hit her at full speed. It was horrendous.”
The council spokesman said this was the first time in the fair’s 22-year history that horse and carriage rides had been part of the event.
The rides were operated by Duncan Drye, whose company has been giving popular carriage tours around Bury St Edmunds since last summer.
Mr Drye said: “It’s difficult to comprehend that such a terrible result should come from this event and our deepest sympathies are with the family. We will not be making any further comment until the investigation is completed.”
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (23 June, 2011)