Anna Ryder Richardson breaks down in tears as her husband admits responsibility for crush injuries of mother and toddler at their zoo
- The celebrity interior designer was cleared of identical charges
- When told she could leave, clung to her husband and asked to stay
- Emma Davies-Hughes and her three-year-old son were seriously injured after they were hit by a falling branch
By Sarah Johnson
PUBLISHED: 11:08 EST, 12 November 2012 | UPDATED: 11:50 EST, 12 November 2012
TV presenter Anna Ryder Richardson wept into her husband's chest today after he admitted serious health and safety breaches which put a mother and her young child in hospital.
The celebrity interior designer refused to leave his side after she was cleared of identical charges and sobbed uncontrollably as he handed her a tissue to comfort her saying: 'It is alright, it is OK.'
Ryder Richardson, 48, was due to stand trial this morning at Swansea Crown Court with husband Colin MacDougall, 46.
TV presenter Anna Ryder Richardson arrived with her husband at Swansea Crown Court today to face trial on health and safety charges after a toddler and his mum were crushed by a falling tree at her zoo
Both had previously denied the charges against them and were ready to deny the accusations over the trial's scheduled three weeks.
The couple was charged with Health and Safety breaches after Emma Davies-Hughes, 30, and her three-year-old son Gruff were crushed by a tree.
The mother and son, from Llanelli, were among dozens of people visiting the wallaby enclosure at the time.
Gruff Davies-Hughes was left fighting for his life after a falling branch hit him on the head and had to spend three days in intensive care.
His mother suffered injuries to her head, leg, pelvis, and arm in the Manor House Animal Park owned by the couple.
A mother and her three-month-old son were injured by a falling branch at Anna Ryder Richardson's Manor House Wildlife Park in Pembrokeshire, West Wales
The celebrity interior designer wept uncontrollably into her husband's chest after he admitted serious health and safety breaches
But a court heard that MacDougall was 'more responsible' for the safety and upkeep of the hundreds of trees at the zoo in Pembrokeshire, West Wales.
Prosecutor David Morgan said: 'A three-year-old boy and his mother were injured as a consequence of a tree falling.
Injured: Emma Davies-Hughes and her three-year-old son were both injured by a falling branch at Manor House animal park
'There is evidence to link a breach of health and safety laws with that incident. It is unclear whether a proper regime would have prevented it.
Ryder Richardson denied breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 but her husband pleaded guilty to four charges - two in his own name and two in the company Manor House Wildlife Ltd.
Ben Compton, defending Ryder Richardson, said: 'There is no evidence at all to link her with any form of tree management at this wildlife park.
'It has been a long two years for her. You will see the effect on her in the dock.'
David Morgan said: 'Anna Ryder Richardson’s day-to-day involvement with this part of the company was far less significant than MacDougall’s'.
He told the judge, following today's guilty pleas, there was careful consideration before the charges against Ryder Richardson were withdrawn.
He said it had been clear that she had little to do with the aspect of the company for which her husband was responsible.
Christian Du Cann, defending MacDougall, said: 'It has been a difficult year for them.'
When the two charges against Ryder Richardson were withdrawn, she was told she could leave the dock while discussions about sentencing her husband continued.
But she clung to her husband's arm and, in tears, asked: 'Can I stay?'
She was allowed to do so by the judge.
Sentence on MacDougall was adjourned at Swansea Crown Court until later in the month.
The couple, who married in 2005, have daughters Bibi-Belle, ten, and Dixie-Dot, nine.
They were both at their 52-acre Manor House in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, when the accident happened in August 2010.
Scottish-born MacDougall was released on bail to await sentence.
The admission of guilt today potentially leaves the way open for a civil claim for damages from the injured pair.
At the time of the accident Ryder Richardson was said to be 'devastated' as emergency services worked for two hours to free the injured mother and child.
The mother and toddler were rushed by air ambulance to Morriston Hospital in Swansea where they received treatment.
Manor House Wildlife Park owners Colin MacDougall with his wife Anna Ryder Richardson and their daughters Bibi Belle and Dixie Dot
The park was investigated by Pembrokeshire County Council who decided to prosecute the couple.
Ryder Richardson made her name alongside Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen on the BBC's popular makeover programme Changing Rooms.
In 2008 she gave up her TV career and bought the dilapidated 52-acre zoo-cum-wildlife park with her husband.
She bought the park for £1million and claimed it was the culmination of a childhood dream.
Neither she nor her husband would speak today as they left the crown court building.