Scotland Yard has confirmed loaning former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks a police horse.
The Evening Standard said Brooks ‘rode the retired horse for a year at her farm in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire before it was put out to pasture”.
A statement from the Met said:
When a police horse reaches the end of its working life, Mounted Branch officers find it a suitable retirement home.
Whilst responsibility for feeding the animal and paying vet bills passes to the person entrusted to its care at its new home, the horse remains the property of the Metropolitan Police Service.
Retired police horses are not sold on and can be returned to the care of the MPS at any time. In 2008 a retired MPS horse was loaned to Rebekah Brooks.
The horse was subsequently re-housed with a police officer in 2010.
The loan was made in 2008 while Lord Blair was Met Commissioner. The Standard said it was ‘likely to raise fresh questions about the close relationship between the police and the Murdoch media empire”.
Brooks is a keen horse rider and is married to racehorse trainer Charlie Brooks. A friend told the Standard:
Rebekah acted as a foster carer for the horse. Anybody can agree to do this with the Met if they have the land and facilities to pay for its upkeep.