Martial arts expert badly injured in re-enactment of medieval battle

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The Independent Online

Police are investigating how a martial arts expert came to be seriously injured while taking part in a re-enactment of a medieval battle.

Kieran Robb, 30, from Edinburgh, was struck in the face with a sword on Saturday, at Twinwood Airfield, near Bedford, during a staged enactment by 300 men of the Battle of Northampton in 1460 - a turning point in the War of the Roses. He was said to be in a "serious" condition in Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge last night.

Bedfordshire Police are looking for anyone who caught the clash on film. Detective Sergeant John Walters said it was not a criminal investigation: "The other man involved has co-operated fully with police but is very distressed. We are hoping to corroborate our existing evidence."

Mr Robb was injured by a "deflected sword strike to the face", at the end of the final 45-minute battle, said David Smith, organiser of Bedfordshire Medieval Fayre.Mr Smith defended safety provisions, saying the paramedics usually dealt with "bruises, small abrasions and heat exhaustion".

"This is an inherently high-risk hobby, but incidents like this are almost unheard of," he said.

The end of the battle, which involved foot soldiers, cavalry, artillery and large pyrotechnics, had to be changed to allow the paramedics onto the field.

Mr Robb is considered to be one of the leading swordsmen in the country. Addenbrooke's Hospital said his condition remained "serious". His relatives were by his bed and unavailable for comment.