Bury St Edmunds horse and carriage rides operator gets community sentence following death at Nowton Park Country Fair

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A horse and carriage rides operator, who admitted breaching health and safety legislation following the death of a grandmother at a country fair in Bury St Edmunds, has avoided prison.

Duncan Drye, 65, of Bishops Walk, Bury, had pleaded guilty to failing, as an employer, to ensure visitors to the Nowton Park Country Fair in June 2011 were not exposed to health and safety risks.

The prosecution followed an incident in which grandmother Carole Bullett, 57, was fatally injured.

Mrs Bullett, of Clark Walk, Bury, had been at the event with members of her family when she suffered chest injuries in a collision involving a runaway horse and carriage.

She died the following day at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge.

Today, at Ipswich Crown Court, Drye was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

Judge David Goodin stressed that Drye was not being sentenced for the death of Mrs Bullett but for being ‘careless in his oversight’ in the way he had organised the rides and assessed the risks.

Due to his ‘very limited means,’ Drye will not pay any contribution toward the £32,000 cost of the prosecution.

Judge Goodin said Drye, who had also employed an inexperienced groom to help with the carriage rides, had not been motivated by the prospect of any financial gain.

As a result, he said the case had not crossed the custody threshold.

He told Drye: “This is a tragedy that nobody, least of all you, looked for. It was inevitably going to have a devastating effect.”

In November, St Edmundsbury Borough Council, which organised the fair, was found not guilty of the same offence.