An animal rights enthusiast who piloted a gyrocopter which killed a hunt supporter believed he had been shot at from the ground and feared a ‘gang’ was on its way to attack him, a court has heard.
Bryan Griffiths (55) is charged with the manslaughter by gross negligence of Warwickshire Hunt member Trevor Morse at Long Marston airfield on March 9 last year. Jurors at Birmingham Crown Court heard Mr Morse's head was cleaved "from top to bottom" by the blade of the gyrocopter as he tried to stop it from taking off.
Mr Morse (48) refused to move out of the way as Griffiths went towards him and the rear propeller of the aircraft, moving at a speed approaching 200mph, cut his head from top to bottom, killing him instantly, the court heard.
Griffiths had been monitoring the hunt from the air and had stopped to refuel.
Griffiths, of Wiltshire Close, Bedworth, north Warwickshire, denies manslaughter by gross negligence.