A WOMAN whipped by a horse rider in a “nasty” assault has asked witnesses to help make sure her attacker does not go “unpunished”.

Penny Little claims shewas knockedforward after being hit around the head by a man on a horse while monitoring a hunt in Clanfield earlier this year.

But police have told the wildlife campaigner they only have until August 20 to find andprosecute the man.

Mrs Little last night said: “I was struck hard around my left ear and it knocked me forward. It felt horrible. It made me feel sick.

“It was a ringing blow and it was very unpleasant.

“Some people seem to think it’s the medieval times and you get on a horse and go around whacking the peasantry.

“It’s staggering, disgraceful and unforgivable and there is no excuse for it.”

Police last week released a CCTV image of a man they want to speak to in connection with the assault in February.

Thames Valley Police spokesman Naveenat Sahota said as the case could only be heard at a magistrates’ court the force had a six-month time limit to begin a prosecution.

Mrs Little, who runs the Little Foxes wildlife sanctuary from her home in Great Haseley, said she wanted to make sure that her attacker was prosecuted.

She said: “I would like him brought to book because it was an unforgivable, mean spirited, nasty thing to do.

“He could have caused serious damage. I was lucky I was not hurt more than I was. Clearly he wasn’t bothered. He was lashing out.

“That sort of behaviour should not be allowed to go unpunished.”

Mrs Little said she was one of five people monitoring more than 40 members of the Old Berks Hunt when she was assaulted. She said her attacker said: “Oh, so sorry” sarcastically before riding off.

The former personal assistant set up Little Foxes in 1997 and the sanctuary takes in orphaned wildlife including foxes, hedgehogs, badgers, and birds.

She said foxes were “misunderstood and badly treated”, adding: “They are the most delightful, fascinating creatures.

“It’s my life’s aim to try to help get the persecution levels down.”

The assault happened in Mill Lane at 11.50am on February 20.

Pc Philip Wood, of Chipping Norton police station, appealed for witnesses to come forward.

He said: “Unprovoked assaults of this nature are taken very seriously by the police and we are hoping the release of the CCTV image will aid the investigation.

“We would appeal to anyone with any knowledge or recognises this individual to come forward”.

Anyone with information should call Pc Wood on 101. To speak anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers call 0800 555111 or visit crimestoppers-uk.org