Olympian on charge

PUBLISHED: 11:03 16 October 2008 | UPDATED: 21:35 31 May 2010

An Olympic showjumper and his pretty blonde lover attacked his ex-girlfriend in a pub brawl, a court has been told. Benjamin Maher, 25, from Elsenham, and Kathleen Baker, 26, allegedly punched, kicked, shoved and stamped on horse groom Megan Pugh. A jury

An Olympic showjumper and his pretty blonde lover attacked his ex-girlfriend in a pub brawl, a court has been told.

Benjamin Maher, 25, from Elsenham, and Kathleen Baker, 26, allegedly punched, kicked, shoved and stamped on horse groom Megan Pugh.

A jury heard how the two women first squared up to each other in a beer tent during a show at Hickstead, the international HQ for showjumping in the UK.

The 'bad blood' continued into the evening and ended in a violent brawl when all three were at the nearby Castle pub, the court was told.

The jury heard how Baker stormed up to Miss Pugh and said: "Come on. I want a f***ing word with you."

She is then alleged to have attacked Miss Pugh in a act of 'gratuitous' violence before boyfriend Maher joined in the assault at the pub in West Sussex.

Brighton Crown Court heard how earlier in the day Baker had allegedly shoved Miss Pugh in a beer tent during a showjumping event.

Prosecutor Roger Booth told the court: "The prosecution say there was some pushing, shoving, kicking and stamping and this was just a gratuitous assault in which both defendants were involved."

Giving her evidence, Miss Pugh told the court she dumped Maher and denied she made up assault claims against him and his new lover in bitterness over the split. She denied bombarding Maher with texts after being spurned, saying she contacted him only because he owed her money.

She told the court she had worked as his groom up until the autumn of 2005 but quit through illness.

She said: "My relationship with him came to an end before I stopped working there. I stopped working there because I was ill."

Miss Pugh denied having difficulty coming to terms with the break-up.

"I was the one who finished with him," she said. "He owed me money and had a lot of my stuff which I wanted back."

Miss Pugh denied starting the alleged fight at the pub or calling Baker, 26, a slag and rubbished a suggestion that Baker offered her an olive branch and tried to "sort it out".

Miss Pugh said: "She lunged forward towards me, there was no reasonable tone in her voice.

"She was marching in such a forward and aggressive manner, I struck out at her when she stuck her finger in my face."

She said: "After Kathleen punched me in the face and knocked me backwards I fell on the floor. I felt someone hit me and saw Ben standing above me holding me down.

"She literally had hold of my hair and was yanking me down."

When arrested, Baker and Maher told police the allegations were completely untrue. They said they were not the aggressors and that the alleged victim had caused the trouble

Maher, of Elsenham Stud, Fullers End, and Baker, of Derry Downs, Orpington, deny assault causing harm in July, 2006.

The trial continues.


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