A landowner who was one of the biggest individual cash donors to the British National Party is facing court action accused of failing to keep his dog under control after it is alleged to have bitten a woman.
Charles Wentworth, 53, who lives at Friston Hall, near Aldeburgh, had his case listed before magistrates in Lowestoft on Monday following the incident on November 17 last year. It was reported to police that Hannah Burns, a 47-year-old woman from the local area, was bitten on the thigh by a Doberman dog on a footpath between Benhall and Friston.
Mr Wentworth, who also owns Friston Village Hall and the village green, is accused of “being the owner of a dog which was dangerous and was not kept under proper control”.
The complaint was made by Ms Burns, and an application has been made for an order that the dog is to be kept under proper control or destroyed. The case was adjourned and is next listed for the magistrates’ court on February 28. No plea has been entered yet. Richard Barker, of Barker Gotelee solicitors, who is representing Mr Wentworth, said his client would be denying the charge.
Mr Wentworth made headlines in 2009 when it emerged he was one of the largest individual donors to the BNP, having handed over more than £38,000 in six cash payments between October 2006 and October 2007. The largest individual payment was for £9,763 and the smallest was for £5,000. Speaking to a national newspaper in 2009, he denied being a racist and said he had joined and helped fund the party because he believed that Britain was “overloaded”.
The Wentworth name has links to the village of Friston and nearby Aldeburgh back to the 18th Century with the family having owned about 100 cottages and farmhouses in the area. Mr Wentworth’s farm is about 660 acres. He is known to support events in the village and has thrown Christmas parties for the village’s children.