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Bonnie Armitage: Online trolls target family of nine-year-old girl killed on Cotswold hunt

The Independent logo The Independent 7/04/2016 Rod Minchin
© Provided by Independent Print Limited

Online trolls have targeted the family of a girl who was killed in a horse riding accident, saying her death is "karma" because she was riding with the Cotswold Hunt .

Bonnie Armitage died in hospital following the accident in Miserden, near Stroud, Gloucestershire on Saturday when she was kicked by a horse as she rode her pony.

Writing on a Facebook page for hunt saboteurs, one person said: "Karma. Hopefully the parents don't indulge in such a disgusting vile pass time any more (sic)."

Another wrote: "Fox 1 - 0 Murderous parents."

And a third post said: "Tragic and unnecessary but nothing good comes from bloodlust how different it would be if her parents hadn't put her at risk."

But others criticised the posts.

Stacey Williamson wrote on Twitter: "#blueforbonnie lets show Bonnie's parents there is so much more support behind them than there is vile trolls."

Her death has hit the equestrian community hard and fellow riders want to show their support for her family.

They have been posting pictures of themselves wearing blue while riding - as blue was Bonnie's favourite colour.

Horse rider Lucy Barnett posted a picture of her horse on Facebook and wrote: "Such a tragedy to hear we've lost another devoted young rider.

"Bonnie was just nine years old and was killed by a fateful kick whilst out hunting doing what she loved the most.

"It's heart breaking to hear, such sad news. My condolences to her friends and family. Blue was Bonnie's favourite colour so please share your pony pics with the hashtag #blueforbonnie."

A Countryside Alliance spokeswoman said the anti-hunt comments were"absolutely disgusting - beyond contempt".

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She said: "We condemn it in the strongest possible terms. Whatever your views on blood sports there is absolutely no excuse for posting views like this online. There is no need to glorify in the death of another human being, especially a child. We do hope the police will take it seriously."

Bonnie lived with her parents, Nick and Polly, and brother and sister in a village near Wantage, Oxfordshire.

Andrew Nott, headmaster of Bonnie's school St Hugh's in Oxfordshire, paid tribute to a "truly lovely, talented girl".

"The entire school community was devastated to learn of the tragic death of one of our pupils, Bonnie Armitage, following a riding accident on Saturday," he said. "Bonnie, the daughter of a member of our staff, was a truly lovely, talented girl who was bright, kind, compassionate, gentle and full of joy."

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Sources told the Press Association how Bonnie had been kicked while riding during the hunt.

"My understanding is that she was riding slightly behind a bigger horse that kicked out at her pony," a source said. "The kick caught her. It was a tragic accident."

Gloucestershire Police confirmed Bonnie's death was not being treated as suspicious and an inquest is due to open on Wednesday.

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