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Car a writeoff after hitting horse

SARAH-JANE O'CONNOR
Last updated 10:55 09/04/2014
Richard Hayden's horse Beautifoal

FAMILIAR CITY SIGHT: Beautifoal is one of two horses Richard Hayden was seen with on the night of the accident.

Vaughn Bennet’s car looks the worse for wear after hitting a horse that was running loose in Brougham St
CRUMPLED: Vaughn Bennet’s car looks the worse for wear after hitting a horse that was running loose in Brougham St

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A horse that was hit and killed by a car on Monday night was running loose on a busy road.

Vaughn Bennet was driving in Brougham St about 7.45pm on Monday when he hit a horse. He escaped with minor injuries but his car was a writeoff.

The horse is understood to belong to Richard Hayden, who is frequently seen around Christchurch with two horses - one named Beautifoal. It is unknown which horse was involved in the accident.

A police spokesman said a man was seen with two horses earlier in the evening, in the area around Poulson St, Addington. He was apparently riding one horse and leading the other.

Bennet was driving down the Brougham St ramp, near the intersection of Collins St, when the car in front of him slowed as it reached the 60kmh sign. The next thing Bennet knew he had hit the horse.

"I never even got a glimpse of it," he said.

After getting out of the car, he had to ask the woman who had been driving in front of him, "what did I just hit?".

The police spokesman said the horse was put down by police.

He said they were considering whether charges could be laid against the horse's owner.

A witness to the accident, who did not want to be named, said the horse was ''loose and terrified'' and there was no driver fault.

"The driver had no chance and is lucky to be alive."

Business owners on Lincoln Rd said they had seen Hayden and his two horses in the area.

Greg from Mr Mowers said Hayden was a regular visitor at The Black Horse Hotel. Greg said on at least one occasion one of the horses got loose and was running on Lincoln Rd.

''All the traffic was backed up,'' he said. ''I went out and caught it.''

Bennet wanted to know whose the horses were.

"If they are going to be in the town boundaries, they need to be restrained."

He said the accident had put him in "a bit of a predicament" since he needed his car for work.

He said the accident had aggravated an old injury and he was feeling "really sore" yesterday.

SPCA Canterbury chief executive Barry Helem said staff had been out several times with police, after calls from the public about the horses, but they were always in good condition. 

Because the SPCA works to the Animal Welfare Act, and Hayden was meeting all the act's requirements, anything else was outside of the SPCA's authority.

''It's a real tricky one,'' Helem said, because multiple agencies were responsible. ''If the horses were loose, it's animal control; if they are creating a hazard, then it's police.''

Lincoln woman Diana Clair Morton, 56, was killed on December 5 after hitting a horse that was running on the road near Prebbleton. The horse had escaped from a nearby paddock.

At the time, police said charges could be laid against the owner of wandering stock, if negligence could be proven.

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