Arguments have begun in the trial of an animal rights activist who decapitated a fox hunt supporter with his gyrocopter. I have never written a more metal sentence.
England's fox hunts have been the center of controversy recently, with a partial ban going into effect in 2005. Last March's Warwickshire Hunt went off like so many do: with animal rights activists waching it closely.
Bryan Griffiths had often flown above hunts in his private gyrocopter, sometimes with a cameraman along to film them. This time he was monitoring the Warwickshire Hunt, and when he stopped to refuel, hunt supporter Trevor Morse stood in his way to prevent him from taking off.
The prosecutor described what happened next:
He was killed when his head was struck by the rear propeller blade of the gyrocopter. That gyrocopter was being driven by this defendant along the runway of Long Marston airfield in Warwickshire.
''The blade of the rear propeller cleaved Mr Morse's head from top to bottom. Unfortunately it also dramatically removed a portion of his brain and threw it away from him. Mercifully death was instantaneous.
Griffiths says it was self defense, and that Morse acted outside the law when he concocted the idea - in a nearby pub - to stop the gyrocopter's takeoff. He faces the British equivalent of a manslaughter charge, but only because England's legal minds were never extreme enough to foresee a count of gyrocopterslaughter.
Gyro pilot 'cut off hunt chief's head' [The Sun]