‘Somebody is going to die’ – farmer’s fears as woman injured in horse spooking incident

Farm owner Lee Broadwith at the scene where one of his employee's Gail Mawhinney was thrown from her horse and trampled after her horse was frightened by a motorcyclist on the old Penshaw railway line.
Farm owner Lee Broadwith at the scene where one of his employee's Gail Mawhinney was thrown from her horse and trampled after her horse was frightened by a motorcyclist on the old Penshaw railway line.
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A FARM owner today warned that someone could be killed on Wearside’s country lanes after a woman was thrown from her horse when it was spooked by a speeding motorcyclist.

Gail Mawhinney, 40, was taken to the RVI in Newcastle suffering from serious injuries after the horse threw her and then stood on her at about 5.25pm on Tuesday.

She was riding her horse, Bandit, on a former railway line close to Woodhouse Farm in Coxgreen, where she works as a stable manager, when the man sped past on a bike, spooking the animal.

The Great North Air Ambulance took her to hospital with severe internal injuries.

Today, she remains in the RVI with a ruptured liver and a broken rib, while police have confirmed that they are hoping to track down the rider who caused the horse to buck.

Ms Mawhinney’s boss, Lee Broadwith, 43, today told the Echo: “Somebody could get killed if this happens again.”

Ms Mawhinney, who is from Newbottle, near Houghton, is expected to remain in hospital for the next seven to 10 days as she recovers, but will not be able to ride a horse again for the next four months.

“The motorcyclist almost ran into her, but he should not there because the road is a bridleway,” said Mr Broadwith.

“He either didn’t see Gail or he didn’t take notice but it’s put her in hospital and she could have died.”

Ms Mawhinney is said to be making good progress in her recovery, although it is not yet known whether she will need surgery to repair the damage.

Mr Broadwith, who has owned Woodhouse Farm for more than a year, added that more needs to be done to make motorcyclists aware of their responsibilities while riding on roads where horses often walk.

“We need to discourage other people from doing what has happened here,” he said.

“It’s bad enough that some bikers are tormenting people by riding about at speeds of 50 or 60mph, but this person did not slow down and then sped off after it happened.

“He was somewhere he should not be and someone needs to make people aware that this is problem.

“It’s not that we have an axe to grind against bikers, but next time, somebody could be killed.”

Police are looking for the motorcyclist, who was riding what is described as a blue and white off-road style motorbike.

He was also possibly wearing a white helmet.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 101 ext 69191, quoting reference 942 of 30/09/14, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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