Owners of an Essington farm where a horse was brutally attacked on Friday have spoken exclusively to The Post of their constant terror at the hands of sick animal mutilators.
Jean and William Simkin, whose family have owned Essington Hall Farm since the 1890s, said Friday's attack is the latest - and worst - in a string of horrific assaults on animals which have rocked the close-knit community.
On Friday night, the idyllic acres of the Bognop Road farm were turned into killing fields as heartless butchers attacked 19-year-old Piebald Mare, Maggie. Her injuries were so bad she had to be put down.
Maggie's owner, Davina Bowyer, was too upset to comment this week following a heart-rending television plea calling for help in catching the culprits.
But her partner, Mick Asbury, described the sickening injuries which ultimately led to the horse's murder.
"There was a wound to her back leg and her achilles was severed," he said.
"Her front leg was totally smashed above the knee and there were cuts all over her body.
"It is horrific. Maggie was a sweet natured horse who would not hurt a fly. We are in shock."
Farm owner, Jean Simkin, said on Tuesday that the attack is the latest brutal act of anti-social behaviour to blight the tranquil farm.
"What they have done to this horse is absolutely inhuman," said Jean, who rents out the fields and paddocks to a number of horse owners.
"The horse was found on Saturday morning by Davina's brother. The poor thing was covered in blood. There wasn't a thing that could be done to save her.
"But this isn't the first attack we have had here - they never stop. It is as if someone wants the animals to die.
"We have had pigs shot with crossbows in the past. There's just no reason for it. The fences surrounding the horses are regular cut so the horses can escape. Gates to the fields where the horses are kept are regularly and deliberately left open. We've even had goats stolen.
"Public pathways run through here from Essington and as far as Ashmore Park. These are clearly deliberate acts. Time was that apple scrumping was all they were after. But they leave the apples now and do this to the animals."
The pair said gangs of booze-fuelled youths are often found in the fields, refusing to move when challenged.
Husband William said: "We have had cars burned out and torched here. If those fires had spread, who knows what damage could have been done."
The pair are now calling on a higher level of police protection for Essington Hall Farm.
"This is getting out of control," Jean said. "The police were here yesterday and they were speaking of increased security. It's what we need.
"Other horse owners are now terrified - of course they are. They all think their horse will be next.
"Something has to be done now to stop this happening again."
Essington parish councillor David Clifft has called for the community to pull together to catch the culprits.
"Animal owners need to be vigilant now...I am distraught and bewildered as to why someone would do this."
Sgt Phil Lloyd, of Watling Local Policing Unit, said: "Enquiries are ongoing into the incident and we would urge any witnesses or anyone who was in the area of Friday night to contact us.
"We are especially keen to speak to three youths who were seen in the area of Friday afternoon cutting at trees."