WITNESSES recounted the tragic moments that claimed the life of Carole Bullett in scenes that haunted some months afterwards.
In statements read out by the coroner Dr Dean, bystanders described their terror as the horse broke loose, with some suggesting it may have been ‘spooked’ by loud noises at the fair. They also expressed concern about the behaviour of some of the horses used on the day.
Darryl Whitpen described ‘a few seconds of total carnage with people scrabbling to get out of the way’ of the runaway horse.
Geoffrey Kenrick was watching a mountain bike display with his wife Jennifer when he was struck by the carriage, thrown into his wife and they both fell to the floor.
Mrs Kenrick said she had found the experience ‘extremely traumatic’ and continued to have flashbacks. Her husband said at about 3.45pm he saw a male driver ‘having difficulty in controlling’ one of the horses, which was rearing up. He added: “The driver was having such difficulty that he got off the carriage and led the horse by the reins. I’m 99 per cent certain this was the horse that bolted later.”
Patricia Starling, who ran a stall for the Suffolk Greyhound and Lurcher Support Group, recounted that the carriage ran over one of their greyhounds, which suffered a ‘severe wound’ to its shoulder’ but recovered. She said: “On two separate occasions a very loud series of bangs came from the arena and the dogs were very shook up and frightened by this noise. Also throughout the day a lot of children were throwing caps on the ground.”
Elisabeth Haslam said: “There were several very loud bangs or noises that may have spooked the horse from the outset.”
It was suggested the horse may have been frightened by a dog. Walter Clelland said there was a muzzled bull terrier nearby which someone bent down to pat. The owner pulled the dog back and Mr Clelland thought the dog saw the horse, got spooked and started barking which frightened the horse.
He said: “The horse threw its head back and ran toward us.”
Mr Clelland put his arms out facing the horse and thought he had managed to direct it away from the public but soon saw it coming back down the avenue.
“It went charging down the avenue and ran into a number of people. I was shouting all the while for people to get out of the way and my wife dialled 999 for an ambulance.”
Vicky Bond, who was about to leave the event, noticed a horse which was a ‘bit agitated and unhappy, moving around and not keeping still’.
When the horse bolted, she saw and heard a young woman, who had been with the horse, on her phone saying ‘you’re going to have to get back here. Lucas has gone mad’.