Anna Ryder-Richardson cleared but husband guilty over health and safety charges

First published in News

TV presenter Anna Ryder-Richardson wept in court today as she was cleared of responsibility for a three year old boy and his mother being crushed by a falling tree.

But her husband Colin MacDougall and their company each admitted two breaches of the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act and will be sentenced next week.

Ryder-Richardson, star of Changing Rooms and I'm A Celebrity.. Get Me Out Of Here, refused to leave the dock at Swansea crown court and instead cuddled her husband during the 20 minute hearing.

She had pleaded not guilty to failing to ensure the safety of employees of and visitors to their Manor House animal park at St Florence near Tenby.

David Morgan, prosecuting, said the pleas were acceptable because she did not have any involvement in the management of trees at the park.

Judge Paul Thomas entered formal not guilty verdicts and she was told she could go.

But instead she cried and stayed in her husband's arms.

MacDougall, 46, the company secretary, and Manor House Wildlife Park Ltd., admitted the same charges. They will be sentenced after the court has been provided with details of the company's financial performance.

The prosecution followed at incident in which Gruff Davies-Hughes, aged three, was left fighting for his life after a tree fell and hit him on the head on August 24, 2010.

He spent three days in intensive care.

His mother, Emma Davies-Hughes, 28, suffered injuries to her head leg, pelvis, and arm.

They had been in the wallaby enclosure at the 52 acre park along with dozens of other visitors when a heavy tree fell on them during strong winds.

Rescue services took two hours to free them.

They were flown by air ambulance to Morriston Hospital in Swansea.

Ryder-Richardson, who filmed Trouble At The Zoo at the park, was told her legal costs would be paid out of public funds.

Mr Morgan said her day to day involvement in running the park was less significant than that of her husband.

All three had been facing a three week long trial but MacDougall and the company changed their pleas to guilty on the morning of what would have been the first day.

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