Man jailed after horse dies on Bridlington beach

Beverley Magistrates' Court. (submitted)
Beverley Magistrates' Court. (submitted)

A man has been sent to jail following the death of a horse on a Bridlington beach.

David Clancy, 35, was seen by members of the public riding in a trap being pulled by the horse at around tea time on July 19 last year, East Riding Magistrates’ Court heard.

Prosecuting for the RSPCA, Phil Brown said the weather was good and that there were families on the beach, where Clancy was making the horse do “circuits going further and further into the sea.”

He said an eye-witness was “shocked and horrified” when he saw the horse “stumbling in distress” in deep water with its shoulders were submerged.

More witnesses in a nearby hotel room near could hear “an awful lot of screaming coming from the beach,” said Mr Brown.

He added: “The horse was in the water, clearly struggling, with one male and a number of others attempting to bring it out of the water but it was clear that the horse was very distressed from its demeanour.”

It was at first thought the horse had drowned but a post-mortem carried out by equine vet Julian Rishworth found no water in its lungs, but that it had suffered haemorrhaging in its head and upper body as a result of rapidly increasing blood pressure.

In a statement read to the court, Mr Rishworth said: “The magnitude of the horse’s suffering would have been extreme.”

The court heard that Clancy had originally denied the offence and told police he was one of the men who was trying to bring the horse back out of the water. But on being presented with witness statements he pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the animal.

Defending, Ed Cunnah said Clancy and others had ridden the horse, and others, in exactly the same way on the beach three days prior, and that the animals were not harmed.

He said the defendant didn’t know there was a sandbank running parallel to the promenade on North Beach, adding: “Beyond that, the level of the water drops significantly. That is the mistake the defendant has made - taking the horse beyond the sandbank.”

But district judge Frederick Rutherford said Clancy was no stranger to Bridlington beach as he took horses there regularly. He said: “For an experienced horseman this is beyond belief.”

The court heard that Clancy, of Tyersal, Bradford, had raised money for charity and helped youngsters by opening up a boxing club in a deprived area near his home, and that his wife was expecting another child.

But jailing him, Judge Rutherford said: “Families in the area witnessed the terrible incident that occurred and death was a consequence of those actions.”

Clancy was also banned from keeping horses for life.