A gamekeeper has described the moment a masked hunt saboteur crept up behind a fellow huntsman.
Gamekeeper Peter Nicol said the person, who was dressed in black, approached a Mr Kippen from behind.
He described the alleged confrontation, on Perthshire’s Snaiglow estate, as he gave evidence at Perth Sheriff Court against three people accused of trying to disrupt a fox hunt.
Colin Milne, 49, Amy Lilburn, 22, and Beverly Milne, 39, deny the charges.
As a result of the incident Mr Nicol subsequently made the decision to abandon the hunt.
Asked by Colin Milne’s defence solicitor Jim Bready if he could be mistaken about a person sneaking up on Mr Kippen, Mr Nicol said: “When I went back to the Land Rover, on my left hand my attention was drawn to a black clothed human person approaching from the left going towards the back of Mr Kippen, who was facing the other way.
“I assume Mr Kippen heard movement and turned round and they were as close as that to his face.”
He indicated with his hands that the distance had been around 18-20 inches.
He added that hunting was conducted in designated areas, with the shoot being directed by the houndsman once the dogs were released, but that dogs were not used in all hunts.
He said that in 51 years of hunting he had not seen a fox killed by the hounds.
The accused, all of Toutie Street, Blairgowrie, deny acting in a threatening manner by entering the Snaiglow estate on the Blairgowrie to Dunkeld road with the intention of disrupting the shoot, filming members of the public and repeatedly following two huntsmen in their vehicle.
The further deny trespassing on the land in relation to lawful activity on the land by masking their faces and entering on to the Snaiglow estate in their vehicle.
The trial before Sheriff William Wood continues to a date in December.