Otis Ferry accused of trying to nobble witness in assault trial

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The Independent Online

Otis Ferry, the son of the rock star Bryan Ferry, was remanded in custody yesterday, accused of perverting the course of justice by trying to discredit a witness in a robbery and assault trial.

Mr Ferry, 25, a prominent campaigner against the law that made fox hunting illegal, is accused of having telephoned his groomsman David Hodgkiss, a potential witness, on 8 September and "instructed him not to provide the police with certain evidence in relation to an allegation of robbery".

A second charge says that between 7 and 17 September, Mr Ferry contacted Mr Hodgkiss and threatened to "discredit him as a disgruntled employee".

Mr Ferry, of Eaton Mascot, Shropshire, was due to go on trial at Gloucester Crown Court on Monday, on charges of robbing Susan Grima, a hunt monitor, of a video camera and assaulting another hunt monitor, Helen Ghalmi, during a meeting of the Heythrop Hunt at Lower Swell, near Stow on the Wold, Gloucestershire on 21 November. He denied both charges.

But the trial got no further than a jury being sworn in before it was sent home and told to return the following day. On Tuesday, the jury was told that more time was needed to prepare the case. Yesterday, the rock star's son appeared at Cheltenham magistrates' court, having been arrested the previous day and held in custody overnight. He was wearing the same blue suit and green woollen sweater he had worn in court the previous day. The new charges, which he also denies, were put to him.

The magistrates originally granted Mr Ferry bail but counsel for the prosecution, Peter Ashby, objected. His plea for bail will be heard this morning by Gloucester Crown Court. Anti-hunt protesters filled the public gallery during Mr Ferry's court appearance on Monday, while members of the League Against Cruel Sports and of Protect Our Wild Animals handed out leaflets outside.

Charles Frederick Otis Ferry was born in November 1982, a decade after his father became famous as the singer with the band, Roxy Music. He grew up in Kensington and went to Marlborough College, one of Britain's most expensive public schools, and spent his holidays in Ireland, where he picked up his love of hunting. He joined the Middleton Hunt in North Yorkshire at the age of 17, and is currently joint master of the south Shropshire hunt.

His grandfather, Fred Ferry, was a farmer who looked after pit ponies. His mother is the heiress, Lucy Helmore, who had four children with Bryan Ferry – Otis, Isaac, Tara and Merlin. After the relationship broke up, she married the businessman, Robin Birley, the former boss of Annabel's night club who has financed various right-wing causes.