Third Battle of Newbury

P.O. BOX 5520, Newbury, Berks. RG14 7YW.

Tel: 01635 45544 Fax: 01635 45545 24 hr info: 01635 550552

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Immediate Release Wednesday February 12th 1997


Legal action against Police over incidents after Newbury Bypass anniversary rally threatened

More than half a dozen complaints have been submitted to the Police Complaints Authority concerning police behaviour in the events after the Newbury Bypass Reunion Rally on Saturday 11th January 1997. The reported incidents all of which occurred outside the perimeter fencing of the construction compound mostly concern the behaviour of Police horses. Two people struck by horses required medical attention, one of which was taken to hospital and is continuing to receive medication for spinal injuries.

Anne Howes, a Newbury resident who helped serve tea at the reunion rally was struck by a police horse without warning as she walked home from the rally site at about 3.10 p.m. A police vehicle which completely obstructed the only public footpath on the A4 road half a mile west of Newbury, forced pedestrians including Anne to walk in the road to pass. As Anne spoke with the driver of the police vechicle she was forcefully struck by a police horse. The riders continued without stopping and an ambulance was called as Anne lay in the road. She received hospital treatment for a crack to the base of her spine, the cocyx and she finds it painful to stand or bend. Legal action to claim damages for the injuries incurred is under consideration. To date Anne Howes injury is believed to be the worse act of violence on record in the events after the rally.

In a separate incident, graphically captured on BBC South News, Leigh Banks also known as Meadow was struck by a police horse at approximately 3.00 p.m. Leigh was about two meters outside the perimeter fence when two police horses were riding fast through the crowd and he was struck from behind without warning and collapsed. A first aider attended but hospital treatment was not required.

Complaints also include the lack of police identification. Usually police numbers are warn as shoulder tags by officers. Despite complaints at the time officers desisted from wearning or showing them.

A spokesperson for the Third Battle of Newbury said

"The Third Battle of Newbury has condemned violence from were ever it comes. The injuries sustained by pedestrians from mounted police outside the compound remain the most serious to date." They continued "We have called for a public inquiry into the events after the rally to establish a true picture of the failure of public order which occurred" ENDS