TV star 'ploughed £1m into park'

Anna Ryder Richardson with her husband Colin MacDougall

Anna Ryder Richardson with her husband Colin MacDougall

First published in National News © by

TV star Anna Ryder Richardson has sunk more than £1 million of her own cash into a wildlife park and is living in a cabin with her family within its sprawling grounds, a court has been told.

The celebrity interior designer was at Swansea Crown Court where husband Colin MacDougall is being sentenced after admitting breaches to health and safety rules.

The couple jointly run the Manor House Wildlife Park in St Florence, near Tenby, West Wales.

Gruff Davies-Hughes suffered serious head injuries at the attraction when he was hit by a bough when a tree was blown down in strong winds in August 2010. The three-year-old spent three days fighting for his life in intensive care after being airlifted to Morriston Hospital, Swansea.

His mother, Emme Davies-Hughes, suffered head injuries and fractures to her leg, pelvis and arm. The mother and son, from Llanelli, were among dozens of people visiting the wallaby enclosure at the time.

MacDougall, 46, admitted two breaches to health and safety rules on the day a three-week trial was due to begin last week. He admitted two identical charges on behalf of the couple's joint company and two more identical charges relating to his wife were withdrawn.

Simon Morgan, prosecuting for Pembrokeshire County Council, made it clear there was no causal link between the accident and the admitted breaches. The accident had sparked a health and safety investigation which went on to find serious problems with the park's risk management regime.

"There is evidence to link breach with the incident," Mr Morgan said. "The court cannot be satisfied so that it could be sure that a proper regime would have identified the tree as a risk such that it would have resulted in immediate action, and thereby have dealt appropriately with the risk and avoided the accident."

Later, Christian Du Cann, for MacDougall, told the court during mitigation that his client paid himself a "modest £8,000 a year".

He said the wildlife park had annual outgoings of almost £600,000 and last year made a profit of £200,000. Ryder Richardson had ploughed more than £1 million of her own cash into the park when it was brought in 2008.

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