Horse scam appeals fail
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