Lewis Stanton’s horse Barney collapses and he’s involved in screaming match
Nelson’s colourful horseman Lewis Stanton has a new base to park his horse Barney but it hasn’t been a pleasant start with two major screaming matches in as many days and his horse Barney collapsing.
Lewis is now parked on Selwyn Pl, outside the Cathedral gardens, after months parked on Bridge St and before that 18 months protesting on Trafalgar St while his horse was held by Nelson City Council against his will.
But on Wednesday and Thursday Lewis was involved in two major screaming matches, the second leading to a complaint of assault against him. And on Friday Barney suddenly collapsed while standing on Selwyn Pl, which caused concern to onlookers and his owner. A vet and the SPCA were called and Barney was given the all clear with just a few scrapes and bruises.
SPCA manager Donna Walzl says she is unsure what caused Barney to collapse but the vet says he is in great condition and it may have been a falling piece of tree that spooked him, getting his back feet caught in his straps causing him to fall over.
The day before police were called to Selwyn Pl at around 1.30pm after a complaint of assault stemming from arguments between Lewis and a local motorist.
But no charges were laid by police because of the “wildly contradictory witness accounts” of what happened.
The motorist, who would only give his first name as James, says he went to park in front of the Cathedral gardens and moved what he saw as rubbish from an otherwise vacant car park. The bins and sand bags belong to Lewis who was then alleged to push James. An argument then broke out and several bystanders attempted to get in-between them before the police were called.
Kathy Jones who witnessed the alleged assault told Lewis there was no need for his yelling, which provoked a torrent of abuse. “I’m sick of this f***ing bull****. You tell your f***ing council to sort this s*** out.”
James says he did nothing wrong but did confirm he also had a shouting match with Lewis the day before.
“I work in town and I park here, particularly on a Wednesday there’s a shortage of parks around here. I got this car park today and I noticed this car park had some old containers and some bags so I went over without comment and threw them on the footpath at this stage the man started shouting and ran over and assaulted me. That’s all. I didn’t shout at him, I did not do anything.”
He says he saw it as his civic responsibility to move the “rubbish”.
“If I see rubbish on the street, I always pick it up and shift it. It was a bit of a hazard and that car park belongs to the ratepayers. Any civic minded person would do the same. From my point of view I was simply moving rubbish and got assaulted for it.”
Nelson City Council’s manager of communications, Angela Ricker, say the council has been and continues to work with Lewis and his lawyers to resolve the current situation.
“The council appreciates everyone’s patience and is hopeful of finding a way forward in the near future.”