A huntswoman filmed whipping a saboteur was crushed to death when her horse fell on top of her at a later drag hunt, a coroner has ruled.
Jane Miller, 57, made headlines for thrashing the animal rights activist up to 17 times with her riding crop and calling protesters ‘uneducated peasants’ in 2017. Just weeks before her death she was told she faced a private prosecution for assault.
Estate manager and farmer Ms Miller, who was also known as Jane Goring, was on another drag hunt on 6 November last year when her horse became tangled in barbed wire and became distressed, the inquest heard. Coroner Simon Wickens was told that as she attempted to calm the animal, it reared and fell backwards, crushing her to death.
Woking Coroner’s Court in Surrey heard that during the hunting season from September to April, Ms Miller would go on two to three drag hunts a week. She usually went by herself with her horse and a horse box.
Witness James Etheridge was riding behind her on the day of her death. He said: ‘Jane struggled to stay on her horse over the jump so I gave her a little extra space and held back. ‘I did not see her take the next jump as cox was in the way. ‘The next time I saw her she was standing holding her horse’s reins when the horse reared and appeared to be stuck on barbed wire. ‘She was trying to keep hold of the horse but that’s when it fell backwards on top of her and she struggled to breathe.’
He said: ‘On 6 November, 2018, police arrived as ambulance were leaving. Jane had suffered a massive trauma to the back of her head along with crush injuries. ‘The head specialist team arrived and they tried to resuscitate but she was confirmed dead at the scene.’ The South East Coast Ambulance Service gave the likely cause of death as a traumatic chest injury.
Dr Ali Alhakim discovered a deep cut on Ms Millers heart during the post mortem examination. He told the inquest: ‘The post mortem revealed a major finding of a 15mm laceration involving the right atrium major. ‘This was the consequence of blunt chest trauma.’ The famer’s husband Richard Goring, 79, who she lived with on the £1million Rabbits Farm estate in Heathfield, East Sussex, was present at the inquest.
Ms Miller became famous after she was filmed hitting Brighton Hunt Saboteurs members Simon Medhurst and Shirley Makin repeatedly with her riding crop. Her family were sent vicious hate mail by trolls after her death, saying they were not sorry and it was ‘karma’.
Recording a verdict of accidental death, the coroner said: ‘I accept the cause of death as given by pathologist, namely one blunt chest trauma leading to laceration to the right atrium. ‘I do find that on 6 November, 2018, Jane Miller died in a field adjacent to Leigh road, Leigh, Surrey, of injuries sustained by a horse she was riding as it reared and fell upon her causing her injuries. ‘I formally record her death as one of accident.
To conclude I would like to give Mr Goring and all those touched by Jane’s life my sincerest condolences.’