Coroner calls for fly-grazing ban after Soham driver’s death

A coroner has called for new laws to combat so-called fly grazing following the death of a Soham man in a crash caused by horses on the road.

Thomas Allen was fatally injured when his car was involved in a collision with the animals which had wandered onto the A14 near Ipswich on Christmas Eve 2012.

Mr Allen died from brain injuries sustained in what became a four-car crash at Sproughton, an inquest at Ipswich heard on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old had been driving home with his girlfriend for Christmas when the crash happened.

Three horses died in the incident which resulted in their owner, Stacy Humphrys, 27, of West Meadows, Ipswich, being jailed last month for 28 months.

Suffolk Coroner, Dr Peter Dean, said the incident, in which Mr Allen was fatally injured, appeared to have been an “accident waiting to happen” and he would be contacting the environment secretary to ask for the practice of fly grazing to be made an offence.

“There had been numerous reports of horses on the loose on or near the road or in locations where the potential for an accident was always there,” he said.

Referring to a report from the National Farmers’ Union, Dr Dean said there had been calls for Parliament to make fly-grazing a criminal offence.

“The picture here seems to be a recurring problem with potential deficiencies in the legislation that might have enabled it to have been dealt with more swiftly,” he said.

Accident investigator Pc Jeff Cribb told the inquest the grazing of horses without the landowner’s permission, while not illegal, was a nationwide problem.

He said witnesses said in the dark conditions it would have been impossible to have seen the horses on the dual carriageway until it was too late to avoid them. 
Verdict: Accidental death.