Gamekeeper escapes prison for endangering low flying helicopter
Gamekeeper Malcolm Hughes, 61, who could have killed two pilots when he drove his Land Rover straight at a low-flying Army Air Corps helicopter, has avoided going to prison.
Hughes, of Raffin Lane, Pewsey, who pleaded not guilty to acting in a manner likely to endanger aircraft during a trial in July, has been given a five-month jail sentence suspended for a year at Swindon Crown Court.
He was also ordered to carry out 120 hours' unpaid community work and pay £1,000 prosecution costs after explaining that he was trying to identify the helicopter when he saw it flying over farmland at Wootton Rivers in December, 2009.
Passing sentence, Judge Douglas Field pointed out that Hughes had risked the lives of the pilot and a trainee on board the Squirrel machine, as well as his own.
"Having seen this helicopter you entered the field where it was situated in your Land Rover and you drove at the helicopter,” he added. "I am quite satisfied you didn't drive at it with the intention of hitting the helicopter. I am prepared to accept your motive was to get its details so the flight could be properly reported."