A judge told one of Britain’s leading hunt masters he did not need to enter the dock because ‘you’re not the sort of person we ordinarily have in court’ after his dog savagely attacked a woman.
Captain Rupert Inglesant will be forced to have the dog destroyed after it sank its teeth into a woman’s thigh and later left two other walkers fearing they would be bitten.
The experienced huntsman admitted in court that his muzzled dog Tigger had been ‘dangerously out of control’.
But unconventionally the 55-year-old was allowed to remain out of the dock – with the judge declaring ‘you’re not the sort of person we ordinarily have in court’.
Rupert Inglesant leading The South Shropshire hunt into Ludlow Castle on Boxing Day, 2005
Isle of Wight Magistrates Court heard the first attack took place last July when Tigger left a female dog walker with a ‘nasty’ bite mark and puncture wound.
The dog had broken free from a pack of 30 hounds being exercised by the Isle of Wight Hunt – where Capt Inglesant is joint Master – and repeatedly gnawed at the woman’s thigh and her spaniel.
The Captain paid the woman’s vet bills as the wounded spaniel needed six stitches and had fluid drained from the wound.
Prosecutor Ann Smout said that following this attack Tigger was muzzled, with Capt Inglesant subject to a conditional caution to keep the dog under control in public.
But last month, a man walking a Labrador was forced to use a stick to stop Tigger from biting him while it snarled and barked.
Pictured: The woman’s injuries caused by the dog attack. Isle of Wight Magistrates Court heard the first attack took place last July when Tigger left a female dog walker with a ‘nasty’ bite mark and puncture wound
Just six days later, another man arrived home and found Tigger on his driveway.
He had to use a broom to guide the ‘growling’ dog away as it snapped its teeth.
The man told police: ‘It was frightening. I thought I was going to get bitten. It was a very aggressive animal and in my opinion will attack again.’
District Judge Anthony Callaway said the original conditional caution had not worked and the dog needed to be destroyed.
But he told Capt Inglesant: ‘You are not the sort of person we ordinarily have in court – there is no need for you to stand in the dock.’
Describing the female dog owner’s injuries, the judge added: ‘[It’s] quite a nasty bite mark with puncture wounds and scratches.
‘The photo speaks for itself.’
The wounded spaniel needed six stitches and had fluid drained from the wound
Capt Inglesant has been working with dogs for the past 30 years, and was part of both the Tedworth Hunt which operates in Hampshire and Wiltshire and the Ludlow Hunt in Shropshire.
He was the sole master and huntsman of the renowned Belvoir Hunt between 2006 and 2010.
The hunt is believed to date from 1750 and describes itself as ‘one of the world’s most celebrated foxhunts’.
Its hounds are owned by the Duke of Rutland and kennelled at Belvoir Castle, a stately home in Leicestershire.
He was also a prominent figure in 1997 documentary The Hunt, which caused controversy when the BBC screened it on Boxing Day that year.
Capt Inglesant later moved to Australia, joining Oaklands Hunt Club in 2012, before returning to the UK and becoming master at Cotswold Hunt between 2017 and 2018.
Barry Arnett, defending, said the huntsman had only moved to the Island in May. He and his wife are now moving away within the next few months.
The victim’s leg is pictured wrapped in bloodied bandages after the attack
He said Inglesant had never had a problem with a dog before and was ‘of hitherto good character’.
Capt Inglesant was adamant the woman’s dog had bitten Tigger, which had caused him to retaliate.
Since the attacks, Tigger didn’t even go into the garden without being on a lead, and he no longer exercises or mixes with the hounds, the court heard.
Mr Arnett said: ‘The dog has effectively been put in solitary confinement.’
Inglesant, of Gatcombe, Isle of Wight, admitted being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control causing injury on June 25.
He also admitted being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control (no injury) on November 3 and November 9, and was ordered to pay an £1,550 fine, £85 costs and an £85 surcharge.