A huntswoman who was recorded whipping animal rights activists with her riding crop was crushed to death by her own horse during a drag hunt, a coroner has ruled.
Farmer Jane Miller was spotted hitting hunt saboteurs and screaming ‘get off my horse’ when activists grabbed the reigns of her horse while they interrupted a drag hunt in East Sussex two years ago.
The 57-year-old was on another drag hunt in November last year, just weeks after discovering she faced criminal charges through a civil prosecution for the whipping incident, when her horse became tangled in barbed wire, the inquest heard.
Miller dismounted the horse and tried to calm the animal down when it reared, fell backward and crushed her to death, Surrey Area Coroner Simon Wickens was told at Woking Coroner’s Court.
The farmer and estate agent was also known as Jane Goring through her marriage to luxury hotel director Richard Goring, who was at the inquest on Wednesday.
Mr Goring belongs to the family who own The Goring, a prestigious five-star hotel in London, where Kate Middleton and her family spent the night prior to the Royal wedding in 2011.
The inquest heard Miller would go on drag hunts two or three times a week during hunting season, and would usually go by herself with her horse and horse box.
James Etheridge was riding behind Miller on the day of her death and witnessed the accident.
He told the coroner:
Jane struggled to stay on her horse over the jump so I gave her a little extra space and held back.
I did not see her take the next jump as cox was in the way. The next time I saw her she was standing holding her horse’s reins when the horse reared and appeared to be stuck on barbed wire.
She was trying to keep hold of the horse but that’s when it fell backwards on top of her and she struggled to breathe.
Police Constable Robert Lawrence of Surrey Police was called to reports of a riding accident in a field adjacent in Leigh, Surrey.
He told the inquest:
On November 6, 2018 police arrived as ambulance were leaving. Jane had suffered a massive trauma to the back of her head along with crush injuries.
The head specialist team arrived and they tried to resuscitate but she was confirmed dead at the scene.
The South East Coast Ambulance Service gave the likely cause of death as a traumatic chest injury.
Dr Ali Alhakim, who conducted the postmortem examination, told the coroner:
The postmortem revealed a major finding of a 15mm laceration involving the right atrium major. This was the consequence of blunt chest trauma.
Controversy surrounded Miller after she was filmed hitting Brighton Hunt Saboteurs members Simon Medhurst and Shirley Makin repeatedly with a riding crop. She’s said to have whipped the activists around the head 17 times after they allegedly grabbed her horse’s reigns during a hunt.
Family members shared tributes to Miller online following the accident, however some anti-hunt activists shared their own less sympathetic posts.
The coroner ruled the cause of death as ‘one blunt chest trauma leading to laceration to the right atrium.’
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining the LADbible Group team in 2017.