A member of a Wiltshire hunt banned after footage of a fox being mauled by hounds leaked online has been sentenced for an earlier animal cruelty offence.

Stuart Radbourne, of The Common in Bromham, near Chippenham, appeared at Swindon Magistrates Court on Friday, October 27.

The 39-year-old pleaded guilty to being jointly concerned with others in causing unnecessary suffering to a fox by causing it to be thrown to and savaged by hounds in Melksham on December 24, 2020.

Due to the seriousness of the offence, where a child was present, harm was caused to a protected animal, and the incident was filmed and shared with others, he received an 18-week prison sentence which has been suspended for 12 months.

During those 12 months, he must carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, as well as pay £750 in court costs and £128 to fund victim services.

Radbourne was part of the Avon Vale Hunt, which was banned after an incident on December 20, 2022, of a fox being pulled out of a badger sett in Brokerswood, near Westbury, and thrown to a pack of hounds that then killed the struggling animal

Filmed footage of the fox fatality was leaked to anti-hunt activists and shared online, where it caused outrage and led to criminal charges being brought against members of the hunt.

In July, former huntmaster Radbourne and 29-year-old whipper-in Aaron Fookes appeared at Swindon Magistrates’ Court.

They each pleaded guilty to a charge of fox hunting, with Fookes also admitting a second charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

Solicitor Sam Harkness, representing both men, said that press coverage of the incident had “utterly destroyed the lives of the defendants”.

Radbourne, of The Common, Bromham, was fined £384 and told to pay £42.50 costs and a £154 surcharge.

At the time, the court heard that he was struggling with “significant debts” and earning £1,000 a month as a farmer and equestrian.

In February, after footage of the incident was circulated on social media, the Hound Sports Regulatory Authority (HSRA) panel barred the Avon Vale Hunt, which meant that the group could no longer operate.

It found that “on the balance of probabilities the evidence revealed serious breaches of the core principles and rules”.

As a result, the authority permanently expelled the hunt and its masters, huntsman and kennel huntsman from membership.