Lime Tree avenue at Nowton Park should not have been used for rides - inquest told

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An expert witness has told the inquest into the Nowton Park horse death that the Lime Avenue should not have been used for carriage rides and the rides should have ended earlier because of the way the horses had reportedly been behaving.

John Parker, president of the British Driving Society, also said that the accident would not have happened if the bridle had not been taken off the horse’s head.

“It’s in everybody’s rulebook never take the bridle off the horse. The moment the horse started running there was no voice, no reins and he panics and the faster he went the more the vehicle bounces,” he said today.

Mr Parker added that, in his opinion, the horse had been in harness for too long that day.

Mr Parker also told the hearing into the death of Carole Bullett, 57, from Bury St Edmunds, that St Edmundsbury Borough Council and organisers of the fair should have taken more account of advice from Nigel Oakley, an experienced horse and carriage driver, that the Lime Tree avenue was not suitable.

Mrs Bullett died after being seriously injured when she was struck by the runaway horse and carriage on June 19 2011 when the horse ploughed into crowds.

Organisers should also have taken more trouble to find out what kind of horse driving training qualifications were available, said Mr Parker.