A gyrocopter pilot drove towards a Warwickshire Hunt supporter who was trying to stop him from taking off, cleaving his head "from top to bottom" with a propeller blade, a court has been told.
Bryan Griffiths, 55, of Bedworth, Warwickshire, is charged with the manslaughter by gross negligence of Warwickshire Hunt member Trevor Morse at Long Marston airfield, near Stratford-upon-Avon, on March 9 last year.
Birmingham Crown Court heard that 48-year-old Mr Morse had been trying to stop Mr Griffiths, who had been monitoring the hunt from his gyrocopter, from taking off again after he stopped to refuel.
He refused to move out of the way as Mr Griffiths went towards him and the rear propeller of the gyrocopter cut Mr Morse's head from top to bottom, the court heard.
Prosecutor Gareth Evans QC told the court: "[Mr Morse] was killed when his head was struck by the rear propeller blade of the gyrocopter. That gyrocopter was being driven by this defendant along the runway of Long Marston airfield in Warwickshire.
"The blade of the rear propeller cleaved Mr Morse's head from top to bottom. Mercifully death was instantaneous."
Mr Evans said Griffiths deliberately drove the gyrocopter at Mr Morse, with the rear propeller spinning at a speed approaching 200mph. He said: "Doing so, we say, was reckless in the extreme because the manoeuvre carried with it a very, very real risk that Mr Morse would come into contact with the revolving, unguarded rear propeller blades of the gyrocopter."
The court heard Mr Morse was acting as a road monitor on March 3 last year during the last day of the hunting season for the Warwickshire Hunt.
Mr Evans said Griffiths owned the gyrocopter and although he was not an anti-hunt activist, had previously flown the machine above the hunt to monitor their actions, often with a passenger filming them.
On that day, when Mr Morse spotted the gyrocopter heading off towards Long Marston airfield to refuel, he got in a Land Rover with a fellow hunt supporter to confront the pilot.
When they were at the airfield, Mr Morse tried to stop Griffiths taking off by standing in front of the gyrocopter. He refused to move out of the way, and as Griffiths drove forwards in the gyrocopter the rear propeller caught Mr Morse, cutting his head from top to bottom.
The jury was shown an edited video of the stand-off between Mr Morse and Griffiths - caught on camera by the man who had brought the fuel to the airfield, Peter Bunce.
As he refuses to move out of the way, a voice can be heard to say to Mr Morse: "You are obstructing him taking off, you have no right to do that, you have no right to do that."
The video shows Mr Morse enlisting the help of the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, to come and stand in the way of the gyrocopter. The propellers can be heard to speed up, followed by a bang.
The video shown to the jury was cut at the point the propeller hit Mr Morse, then cut again to see him lying on the ground.
Mr Evans said it was quite clear Griffiths wanted to leave, and also clear Mr Morse was not willing to let him leave. He said: "There is no doubt about it. His intention was stopping that gyrocopter from taking off.
"He was not standing there for the good of his health. At one stage he moved the Land Rover closer to the gyrocopter to stop it getting away in an attempt to block its getaway.
"He made it plain that he was obstructing that gyrocopter's take-off and when asked to get out of the way he refused to do so."
Mr Evans said Griffiths had not gently inched towards Mr Morse, but had travelled at speed.
He said: "This was not a general nudging movement. It was carried out, we say, at speed. This was no inching movement."
Mr Evans asked the jury to consider several things when watching the video, including whether there was a gap Griffiths was aiming for when he drove the gyrocopter at speed.
The court heard that in interview Griffiths told police Mr Morse had moved and he was aiming for a gap, but the video filmed by Peter Bunce suggested Mr Morse had not moved.
Mr Evans said: "The defendant's case is that he did nothing criminal and that as far as his actions were deliberate they were acted out of necessity."
But the prosecutor told the jury Griffiths could only rely on the defence of necessity if he acted to prevent himself being killed or seriously harmed, and if his actions were reasonable and proportionate.
He said: "The prosecution say there was no imminent risk of the defendant or his passenger being killed or seriously injured.
"Mr Morse had made no threats, he had made no attempts to take the keys or prevent the refuelling operation and we say at all times was adopting a passive obstructive stance."
He said although there had been minor incidents involving the pro and anti-hunt groups, there was no history in this case of hunt supporters using violence against the people who did not support the hunt.
Mr Evans said Griffiths had felt uneasy about Mr Morse being at the airfield, and had even written the registration number of the Land Rover on his palm.
But he said this unease was "far, far removed" from the fear required by the law to constitute the defence of necessity.
"If he was that frightened, if he did reasonably believe that he was going to be either killed or seriously injured, what was available to him?" he asked.
"All he had to go was get out of the gyrocopter, get into Mr Bunce's car, drive away from the scene and call the police. But he did nothing like that.
"The risks of Mr Morse coming into contact with these propeller blades revolving at 200mph were very real. The consequences of any contact would inevitably be fatal.
"We say the defendant deliberately chose to drive quickly at Mr Morse and face the consequences, when he could have driven slowly towards Mr Morse until he had a gap."
Griffiths, of Wiltshire Close, Bedworth, denies one count of causing manslaughter by gross negligence.
The case at Birmingham Crown Court was adjourned until 10.30am Wednesday.