UK

Man to face court after Derby race protest at Epsom

(Mike Egerton/PA)
(Mike Egerton/PA) (Mike Egerton/PA)

An animal rights activist who ran on to the track at the Epsom Derby will face court on Monday after being charged by police.

A man was filmed jumping the fence and sprinting on to the course as the race began on Saturday.

He was pursued by police as the crowd jeered, with some shouting “get him”, before officers tackled him and pulled him away.

Surrey Police confirmed on Sunday that Ben Newman, 32, from Hackney, east London, had been charged with causing public nuisance.

Runners and riders during the Betfred Derby (Tim Goode/PA)
Runners and riders during the Betfred Derby (Tim Goode/PA) Runners and riders during the Derby (Tim Goode/PA)

He will appear at Guildford Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

The protest occurred after the Jockey Club, which owns Epsom Downs, was granted an injunction prohibiting the Animal Rising group from intervening in the event, claiming the organisation had made it “explicitly clear” that it intended to breach security.

Newman is one of 31 people arrested on Saturday, including 12 on the racecourse grounds.

They included two women who were arrested as they tried to climb the fence and get on to the track.

A police spokesman said: “A total of 39 arrests were made over the course of the two days. Thirty-one of these arrests were made in connection with planned criminal activity at the Epsom Derby Festival, including two women who were quickly detained moments before they were able to get on to the track.

“Thirty have since been released on bail pending further inquiries.”

Chief Superintendent Clive Davies, who was in charge of the policing operation for the Derby, added: “I am incredibly proud of every single officer, staff member and volunteer who worked in the run-up to the event and at the event itself.

“They played a vital role in protecting the public and preventing and responding to criminality.”

A statement from Animal Rising said: “Like most people, Ben cares deeply about animals. He made it onto the track yesterday to continue this urgent conversation about our treatment of not just horses in the racing industry, but all the intelligent, feeling animals who suffer unnecessarily in society.

“Before the race started it was clear to security and police that multiple people were attempting to get over the barriers, but organisers chose to steam ahead regardless and not only started the race, but failed to follow the British Horseracing Authority’s ‘Stop Race’ procedures with Ben on the track.

“To protect the race, an additional £150,000 was spent on security alongside a policing operation that included facial recognition cameras, two house raids, and 30 pre-emptive arrests.

“The fact anyone made it on the track goes to show that people who care deeply will not be stopped by crackdowns on protesting, and we will continue to do all we can to ensure a safe, secure future for all life.”

After the Derby, the chief executive of the Jockey Club, Nevin Truesdale, praised the “swift and decisive” action of police in putting an end to the “deplorable and mindless actions” of the protesters.

Newman, who was named by Animal Rising on Saturday, has previously appeared on GB News.