A DRIVER who caused the death of a horse after ploughing her car into the back of it has been handed penalty points and a fine.

Bryony Donovan, 26, of Coopers Avenue, Heybridge, admitted one count of driving without due care and attention when she appeared at Colchester Magistrates’ Court.

In November last year, Donovan was driving down Lark Hill Road, in Canewdon, and failed to see two large horses and their riders, who were wearing fluorescent jackets.

The red Fiat 500 went straight into the back of one horse, being ridden by Laura Thorogood, 30, causing her to be thrown off on to the grass verge next to the road.

Laura’s horse, called Angel, suffered fatal injuries and had to be put down at the scene.

Kaitlin Fitzpatrick and her horse Eric suffered less serious injuries.

Donovan was fined £265 and received five points on her licence. She was also ordered to pay costs and a victim surcharge.

Speaking after the sentencing, Laura said she was disappointed with the result.

The mum-of-one, who was forced to say goodbye to her horse in the road, said: “To be honest I was expecting her to lose her licence.

“She is now up to her limit on points so that if anything else happens she has her licence taken away but that doesn’t compare to the loss and trauma I have been put through.

“I don’t think this sends a strong enough message to drivers.

“I think if you can kill a horse outright and get less than six points on your licence it doesn’t really seem like a punishment.”

After the accident, the riding community in and around Rochford launched a campaign to raise awareness of how to behave when passing horses and to try and lower the speed limit on Lark Hill Road.

The campaign has since had the backing of MPs and even the Princess Royal.

Laura, of Beach Avenue, Leigh, added: “This kind of result only spurs us on more.

“We want to get as much media coverage as we can and hopefully be able to reach out to national TV.

“Something should be put in place to ensure a harder punishment, a bit like with the new law in place for being caught on a mobile phone.

“I am sure it would’ve been looked at very differently if I wasn’t standing here today.

“I don’t think I will ever know the full reason as to why it all happened but if we can get somewhere with this campaign then hopefully we will make it a safer road for everybody to share.”