A HUNTSMAN who racially abused a protester during a meet near Ross-on- Wye has been told by a district judge that the words he used were “utterly disgusting”.

David Lee Peters, master of the Ross Harriers Hunt, was found guilty of racially aggravated harassment following a trial at Hereford Magistrates Court.

The court heard Peters, aged 33, of Castle Brook Kennels, Coughton, used a racist term during a hunt at the Pennyfarthing Inn at Aston Crews, on January 7.

The comments were made after he saw Hiba Hassan, an African-British national, sitting in a Land rover with other protesters at the hunt.

Police were informed and arrested Peters.

Michael Chant, who was in the vehicle, said he was appalled by the remark.

“I looked towards Hiba and she was absolutely appalled and shocked,” he said.

“I have never seen that person before, but I recognised his face from photos of him that I found on the Ross Harriers website and in a newspaper article. I identified him as Lee Peters.”

The court heard that Ms Hassan picked out Peters in an identification parade, while others heard the same remark.

Summing up, District Judge Nigel Cadbury said he was satisfied Peters had racially abused Ms Hassan.

“I find that it therefore discredits those witnesses who were nearby who said that nothing happened and nothing was said when they went past the Land Rovers,” he said.

“Lee Peters said that the saboteurs were armed with baseball bats, but no-one at all saw these weapons and the police checked over the Land Rovers and asked various people if they had any weapons and no-one said they had.

“Mr Peters said that he was on the phone to his mechanic and was not being abusive, which I think is another piece of evidence that I find Mr Peters to have lied to this court about.

“His credibility is very seriously damaged and I find him guilty of uttering those words.”

Peters was also found guilty of using threatening words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm and distress, to Robert Constable, the driver of the Land Rover carrying Ms Hassan.

Peters was fined a total of £720, ordered to pay Ms Hassan £200 compensation and £2,000 in court costs.

Lee Moon, spokesman for the Hunts Saboteurs Association, added: “Decent people know that racism is completely unacceptable.