Crufts carnage: Three banned for chair-throwing at premier dog show
‘No one messes with Sue Garside!’
Crufts has always been dogged by controversy. In its 124 year history the event has seen claims poisoning, illegal hairspray use and an influx of contentious foreign canines.
But no one was prepared for the volcanic row that erupted at Crufts this year after a bulldog breeder accused one judge of being “bent” in a Facebook post last March.
What followed was a farrago of foul-mouthed threats, violence and high octane chair throwing.
A leading dog breeder and two judges were then banned by the Kennel Club.
The notorious trio were also fined and their behaviour was described as “discreditable to the canine world.”
A disciplinary subcommittee of the Kennel Club heard that Tom Sainsbury, initiated the quarrel after accusing Bill Goodman, 65, of “the most bent judging I have ever witnessed” in an incendiary Facebook post.
According to the judge the post was directed to, Billy Goodwin, the next day Mr Sainsbury told him to “fuck his mother”. Mr Sainsbury, 39, claimed that Mr Goodwin had given a prize to a bulldog bred from his own dogs.
The acrimony only increased when another judge, Sue Garside, allegedly tossed chairs in front of Mr Goodwin, chased him and kicked an empty cage he was carrying. The hearing was told she screamed: “No one messes with Sue Garside!” as she lashed out at Goodwin.
Mr Sainsbury, 39, from Surrey, said that he regretted writing the Facebook post, but hoped it would blow over the next day. It did not: he claims that Mr Goodwin stared at him, mouthing the words “you cunt”, and told Mrs Garside he was “going to break Tom Sainsbury’s jaw”.
Mr Goodwin, who is President of the Bath and West Bulldog Club, said Sainsbury’s claim of “bent” judging made him nervous to return to the competition the day after the post was made.
The judge, 65, from Chipping Norton, claimed that Mr Sainsbury grabbed his arm in the car park and asked him to fight, saying “Outside, bastard! I’m gonna do you now”.
Mr Sainsbury said in a statement that the allegations against him were “astonishing” and that he would not have been that aggressive to a 65-year-old man. He regretted the Facebook post but accused Mr Goodwin of being the aggressor.
Mrs Garside denied getting involved in the spat. She said the trouble started in the car park when Mr Goodwin began threatening Mr Sainsbury.
Later that afternoon, Mr Goodwin walked by her and said he was going to “do her motor”, and knocked his cage against her knee, she claimed.
Mrs Garside said: “At no time did I kick either him or his cages. I suffer from osteoporosis and in the past year have broken four of my toes on separate occasions.”
For his part, Mr Goodwin denied all the allegations made against him. Breaking down in tears before the hearing he said: “I have cancer. I never would have asked Sainsbury to step outside. I’m a very ill man and any kind of infection could kill me.”
The Kennel Club panel ruled that Mr Sainsbury had launched a “keyboard attack” on Mr Goodwin but noted he had apologised for “the deep hurt and offence caused.”
It said it was satisfied that Mr Sainsbury made “extremely threatening and confrontational approaches’ and was ‘verbally abusive”. But it added that the confrontation “was not one-sided” and that Mr Goodwin made ‘”of a physically threatening nature”.
Mrs Garside’s behaviour was described as “unacceptable for a championship judge”.
All three, who had denied wrongdoing, were banned from Kennel Club events. Mr Sainsbury was excluded for two years, Mr Goodwin for one and Mrs Garside for six months. Both men were fined £1,000 while Mrs Garside was fined £500.