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Animal rights activist spared jail after Epsom Derby disturbance

Ben Newman was filmed running on to the course as the major race began on June 3.

An Animal Rising activist has been spared jail after running on to the track at the Epsom Derby a minute before the horses galloped past.

Ben Newman, 32, was filmed running on to the course as the major race began on June 3.

After pleading guilty at Guildford Crown Court on Thursday to causing public nuisance, he was criticised by the judge for “endangering” the lives of police and security guards who managed to drag him off the track just before the horses ran past.

Newman was sentenced to 18 weeks imprisonment suspended for two years and fined a total of £1,356.

Derby Festival 2023

The incident happened as the Epsom Derby started (Mike Egerton/PA)

The protest happened after the Jockey Club, which owns Epsom Downs, was granted an injunction banning the Animal Rising group, which Newman was a part of, from intervening in the event.

He was produced from custody and appeared in court dressed in a grey sweatshirt.

He was one of 31 people arrested on the day of the race, including 12 on the racecourse grounds.

Footage played at court showed Newman running on to the track as police and security guards darted after him before wrestling him to the ground and dragging him to one side.

About a minute later, the horses sprinted past, prosecutor Wendy Cottee told the court.

She said: “The Derby was due to start at 3:30pm. Horses were let out just after that.

“This defendant then ran across the track. The horses were around a minute away.

“He was apprehended and taken off the track.

“The defendant admits that the public were angry with him – several were jeering at him.”

Katie Boulter walks away as ground staff clear confetti from court 18
Katie Boulter walks away as ground staff clear confetti from court 18 at Wimbledon (Adam Davy/PA)

On Wednesday, Home Secretary Suella Braverman held a summit at Downing Street with police and sports bodies including the Lawn Tennis Association, the Premier League and the England and Wales Cricket Board to discuss plans to step up security at summer sporting events.

That afternoon, Just Stop Oil protesters threw orange confetti and jigsaw pieces on to court 18 at Wimbledon, stopping play twice.

It came after members of the group invaded the pitch at Lord’s last week during the Second Ashes Test.

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