Horse scam ap­peals fail

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - NEWS - By Keith Hunt

ered an ar­gu­ment both women were given the same sen­tences, de­spite Jurecka be­ing found to be the driv­ing force be­hind the con­spir­acy. John­son has been on home cur­few de­ten­tion since her re­lease.

Maid­stone Crown Court heard the horses, priced from £1,950 to £5,700, were drugged at South East Horses, based at Great Thorn Farm in Mar­den and at hired land at Duck­hurst Farm in Sta­ple­hurst, to cover up lame­ness and other prob­lems.

It was es­ti­mated hun­dreds of horses were sold, bring­ing in po­ten­tially hun­dreds of thou­sands of pounds.

In a con­flict of in­ter­est, John­son and Jurecka, both 28, used their own vet, 66-year-old Smith, who also had a prac­tice in Hawkinge, to carry out de­lib­er­ately cur­sory and in­ad­e­quate ex­am­i­na­tions of the horses be­fore they were sold.

On­line ad­verts and in mag­a­zines tar­geted novice rid­ers look­ing for ‘“safe’” horses, but buy­ers were left with dra­mat­i­cally dif­fer­ent an­i­mals.

Sev­eral cus­tomers were thrown and at least one was in hospi­tal for two months with life-threat­en­ing in­juries. Oth­ers suf­fered bro­ken ribs and one was left un­con­scious in a ditch.

John­son, of Wag­tail Place, Hayle Park, Maid­stone; Jurecka, of Prospect Place, Col­lier Street, Ton­bridge; and Smith, of Lower Farm, The Street, Fin­gle­sham, near Deal, de­nied con­spir­acy to com­mit fraud be­tween June 2008 and De­cem­ber 2013, but were con­victed.

The court heard the loss in­volv­ing 17 horses fea­tur­ing in the trial was put at about £85,000.

Judge Joy said at the end of the three-month trial that all three had been con­victed on clear and over­whelm­ing ev­i­dence.

“Each of you was in­volved in a long and dis­hon­est course of con­duct by telling lies about the his­tory, tem­per­a­ment and health of horses,” he told them.

Deal vet David Smith, and Aniela Jurecka and Char­lotte John­son

Mis­lead­ing ad­verts for the horses tar­geted novices

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