“NEVER seen anything like it before in my life” – that was the verdict of witness Carolle Lee-Jones when asked about the emaciated horses found in a yard in Stoke Prior last year.
The founder of High Horse Showing Society, and self-confessed horse lover, was called to the stand during day three of Annette Nally’s trial at Redditch Magistrates Court.
Carolle, who attended Nally’s yard on July 14, last year, after her friend Charlotte Edwards had phoned her, said she was in ‘utter’ shock at what she saw.
“I’ve worked with and owned horses since I was about four or five-years-old, but I’d never seen anything like this.
“When I arrived at the yard I noticed there was no grass, the fences were down and there were faeces everywhere.
“One pony had barb wire wrapped around it, another dead.
“It was complete disarray.”
Nally, of Parkwood Lane, Solihull, formed a good relationship with Ms Lee-Jones after helping return an ex-race horse, known as ‘Thor’, back to full health.
Nally – who is expected to give evidence this week – allegedly received donations for Thor’s veterinary and feeding costs by holding various public fundraising events.
Ms Lee-Jones said: “On July 14 I rang Nally to tell her the RSPCA and police were at her yard.
“She was in Devon at the time collecting another horse to foster, but after a few hours a car pulled up to the site.
“I thought it was Nally but it was actually a horse ambulance.
“Initially I thought the driver was there to pick up the dead horse in the barn, but he told me he was there to shoot four other horses under Nally’s request.”
Ms Lee-Jones who allegedly filled empty troughs back up with water, said one horse was so ‘lifeless’ and that she didn’t know ‘how it was still standing’.
She said she had seen some of emaciated horses in ‘good condition’ prior to going into Nally’s care, including the one that was dead in the barn.
“Nally would send our Facebook group progress pictures of how the horses were doing,” she said.
Nally, 49, who has denied four counts of causing unnecessary suffering to horses, has always maintained she left water in the troughs before leaving for Devon and that the horses were in bad condition before they arrived at her stables.
Midway through the trial on Monday defence solicitor Ms Whitehead told district judge Ian Strongman the case was at risk due to a contempt of court issue.
She claimed a member of the public gallery had taken a picture of Nally and distributed it on social media, however it could not be proven.
Judge Strongman said: “Can I remind everyone here today that if found guilty of contempt of court, it can be an immediate custodial sentence.”
The trial continues.