An animal rights activist who left a farmer scarred for life after attacking him during a badger cull has avoided a jail sentence.
Daniele Rinaudo, 33, wore a balaclava during the attack, which he carried out with another unknown man. They attacked David Barnes – who had nothing to do with the cull – when he pulled up alongside their car in the village of Gotherington on September 27 2015 and asked what they were doing there.
Mr Barnes had driven to the scene after hearing that neighbour Ulyana Andrews had been terrified by masked men shining torches into her remote home at about 9pm that night.
Prosecutor Sam Jones told Gloucester Crown Court: ‘This defendant and another man were shouting and cursing at him from the vehicle.
‘[The unidentified man] approached the open window of Mr Barnes’ vehicle and was holding what he calls a technical torch. The man jabbed the rear end of the torch at Mr Barnes’ face. Mr Barnes grabbed it from the man and threw it into the footwell of his Landrover.
The defendant then got out of the car with a black cotton bandana over his face. He approached Mr Barnes and shone his torch into his face while the first man was still scuffling with him.
‘The defendant tried to jab the torch at Mr Barnes. He was effectively using the torch as a weapon.
‘Mr Barnes says the door of his Landrover came off the vehicle and fell to the road. He got out of his vehicle and the defendant then struck him to the head while holding the torch in his hand. It was a blow which caused significant injury to Mr Barnes’ head.
‘He fell and says there was an attempted kick delivered by the other man.’
Looking at pictures of Mr Barnes, taken after the incident, Judge Jamie Tabor QC said: ‘He suffered a very nasty cut over the eye.’
The judge asked whether Mr Barnes had anything to do with the badger culling going on in the area at that time and Mr Jones said he had nothing whatsover to do with it and was simply asking what the men were doing there because they had alarmed Mrs Andrews.
Richard Tutt, defending, said Rinaudo had never done anything like this before and he deeply regretted his actions that night.
Mr Barnes was treated in hospital. Rinaudo had done various kinds of voluntary work in animal welfare and was highly though of by many, he said.
At the time of the incident, he said, Rinaudo and his companions had got lost down a small line during their badger cull monitoring activities and did not know where they were.
‘He accepts entirely that this must have caused concern to the householder,’ he said. ‘He says they didn’t even know there was a house nearby.’
Rinaudo, of Anns Road North, Sheffield, pleaded guilty to unlawfully wounding Mr Barnes and was sentenced to 16 months jail suspended for two years. He was also placed under home curfew from 9pm-5am for six months, ordered to pay £1160 compensation to Mr Barnes and also ordered to pay £500 costs.
Judge Tabor said: ‘Your behaviour would make right-thinking people feel that serious crime was afoot. Your benevolent feelings towards badgers does not appear to have been extended to local home owners.’
The judge said he accepted that Rinaudo was genuinely sorry and it was that, plus his previous good character and the fact that only one blow was struck, which saved him from immediate jail.
Read the original article on metro.co.uk.com here.