Dagenham family left devastated after their horse is killed

A Dagenham family have been left distraught after their beloved horse was brutally killed as it grazed in a field.

The seven-year-old thoroughbred, called Poppy, was discovered by passing walkers on Monday with a 20-inch laceration to its neck and jaw line at Chase Local Nature Reserve, in Dagenham.

The cuts are believed to have been made by a large, sharp object.

The animal had been let out of its stable onto the grassland at around 5am with around 20 other animals from Eastminster School of Riding, in Hooks Hall Farm, on The Chase.

It was found at around 2.30pm.

Owner Karen Peter, of Valentines Way, rides Poppy together with her three daughters, Imogen, 14, Rhiannon, 13, and Evie, six.

She said: “Everyone is just totally shocked by this. No-one has heard of this happening before and we’re all trying to get our heads around it.”

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She said the family had been left “numb and distraught” by the savage attack.

“Poppy was a family horse;” she added, “I can’t understand how anyone could be so cruel.”

Karen, a civil servant, said she had bought the horse following a life-long love of riding.

“As a bit of consolation the vet said Poppy would have died very quickly,” she said.

David Smyth, proprietor of Havering Park Riding School, who has 24-hour security at his riding school in Orange Tree Hill, in Havering-atte-Bower, said he had heard of a number of horse attacks, sometimes in relation to witch craft.

An RSPCA spokesman described the killing as “horrific”.

Barking and Dagenham police are investigating the incident and is warning horse owners to be on their guards when leaving their animals out.

Sgt James Browing, of the Parks Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “This was a barbaric and cruel attack on a defenceless animal.

“Due to the violent nature of this incident, we are very keen to identify the person who is responsible.”

Anyone with information should contact the police 0800 555 111 or 07525410394