Grandmother Dies In Horse And Carriage Accident

Man Sentenced To 200 Hours Of Community Service Following Country Fair Accident


A 57-year-old grandmother suffered fatal chest injuries when she was hit by a runaway horse during the Nowton Park Country Fair in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

The startled horse charged through the crowds along with its driverless carriage, before hitting Carole Bullet.

Ms Bullet was airlifted to a Cambridge hospital, but died the following day.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the owner and operator of the horse and carriage ride - Duncan Drye - had failed to introduce control measures to ensure the public remained safe. St Edmundsbury Borough Council was cleared of any health and safety breaches at an earlier hearing.

Mr Drye was sentenced to 200 hours of community service for his role in the incident, which occurred in June 2011.

It emerged that the horse's bridle had been removed after it had given rides to visitors throughout the day.

Although Mr Drye had met with council representatives before the event, he did not ensure that his staff were adequately trained to operate the horse and carriage and there was no system in place to segregate the animal from passers by.

The HSE encourages owners and operators of this type of attraction to follow the guidelines set by the British Driving Society, which is currently the only specialised Harness Horse Driving Awarding Organisation that offers accredited qualifications.

Having seen Mr Drye plead guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 during a hearing at Ipswich Crown Court, HSE inspector Malcolm Crowther insisted this tragic incident was "entirely preventable".

"Because Mr Drye failed to take the necessary safety precautions, one woman needlessly lost her life and a number of others were injured," he commented.

"Horse and carriage rides can be run safely provided the proper control measures are in place. It is vital that operators are adequately trained and assessed before they are allowed to operate a ride in public."

Mr Crowther also stressed the importance of carrying out risk assessments ahead of such events.

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