Chipperfield was `cruel woman'

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THE CIRCUS trainer Mary Chipperfield was branded an "insensitive, cruel woman" who ruled her farm with "dictatorial authority".

Under cross-examination at Andover magistrates' court yesterday, Ms Chipperfield, who is accused of animal cruelty charges, was told by Charles Gabb, for the prosecution: "That's how you see yourself - master of all the animals in your kingdom. They will do as you say or they will be beaten ... You don't care tuppence about the infliction of pain. Discipline - that's the god that you worship."

Mr Gabb asked her: "Is it right you think this is a lot of fuss over nothing?" She replied: "A bit along those lines, yes."

Ms Chipperfield, 61, was questioned after she had told the court she hit a baby chimpanzee with a riding crop because it tried to bite her. Giving evidence for the first time, she said she had to hit the 18-month- old animal, Trudy, because it refused to go to bed and "was playing to an audience". Ms Chipperfield said the animal had previously turned on her and bitten her left nipple.

Ms Chipperfield denies 21 charges of cruelty relating to the care of animals at her winter training quarters near Andover, Hampshire. Her husband, Roger Cawley, denies seven charges.

The trial continues today.