22-year-old man convicted after a fatal collision with foal

28/04/2022

Ben Hanlan, of East Grange Drive in Leeds, was convicted after the Volkswagen Polo he was driving collided with a foal nearby to Beaulieu Road between midnight on Friday 27 August and 3.30am on Saturday 28 August 2021.  He has been disqualified from driving for a period of six months and ordered to pay £85 court costs.

Mr Hanlan fled the scene and failed to report the incident, telling the court he thought he had hit a deer at the time but had failed to stop to determine the facts.

The injured pony was located by a local a Agister the following day, found to have suffered two broken front legs as a result of the accident. It is then thought that the pony continued to wander for several hours on the stumps of her bones before succumbing to her injuries.

The pony was humanely dispatched of as a result.

PC Matt Thelwell, Wildlife and Rural Crime Officer, said:

“Sadly, this is an incident which was wholly avoidable, but resulted in a foal having to be euthanised due to the severity of its injuries. The driver is lucky that in this situation, he did not suffer serious injuries himself, or worse, but that could have been a real possibility in a different scenario.

“Driving above the speed limit, especially during hours of darkness, can have devastating consequences. Sadly, there have been a number of high-profile animal deaths on New Forest roads over the last 18 months; but these needn’t have happened if motorists been travelling within the speed limit or driving appropriately for the conditions.

“This conviction hopefully sends out a stark message about the importance of driving safely, and within the law, across New Forest roads, but also that no one is above the law. Failure to report a road traffic incident or accident is a criminal offence, and this shows, that we will always seek to identify those responsible and put them in front of the courts so that justice can be served.

“We will continue to work with key partners including New Forest National Park Authority, Forestry England and Commoners Defence Association to raise awareness of animals killed by collisions in the New Forest area and improve safety.”

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