A self-proclaimed “animal lover” has admitted to being the person that caused outrage and amusement in equal measure when he was captured on camera attempting to punch a police horse in Newcastle last Sunday.
Barry Rogerson, 45, claimed he panicked as 'Bud' the equine crime fighter ran towards him when violence broke out after the Tynside derby between Newcastle and Sunderland on Sunday.
He told The Daily Mail that his medication and consumption of alcohol could have been the trigger for his attack which made headlines across Britain.
Soon after he aimed the punch he was tackled by officers and wrestled to the ground after his beloved Newcastle were beaten 3-0 at St James' Park.
“I'm an animal lover. I've got three dogs, a fishpond out the back and I feed foxes across the road,” said Mr Rogerson, a resident of Morpeth, Northumberland.
He claimed he had worn a scarf covering his face during the violence that left three police officers injured in order to keep a broken filling in his tooth warm
He said: “We just came out of the Terrace Bar in St James' Park, we turned right and I was right in the middle of it.
“This one particular horse was spooked by a firecracker and charged at me. That's when I panicked and threw a punch at the horse.
“I tried to get him away from me with my left hand and then punched him with my right. It was sheer panic. It was an instant reaction.
“I did not actually go out to attack a horse. I'd like to apologise to the horse, to the mounted section and to the people of the North East.”
Bud is a member of West Yorkshire Police's 18-strong mounted section that patrols football matches up and down Britain. While he is back in his paddock safe and well, after being arrested Mr Rogerson has been bailed until next month.
Chief Superintendent Steve Neill, of Northumbria Police, said: “Disruptive behaviour of any kind is not tolerated. Inquiries will take place into these incidents and action will be taken against all those involved.”