Police horse lent to Rebekah Brooks was in 'poor' state on return

Rebekah Brooks arrives at Newbury racecourse in November 2011
Image caption Rebekah Brooks asked police to take the horse back in 2010

A police horse lent to Rebekah Brooks by Scotland Yard was returned in a "poor condition", the Met has said.

The former News International chief executive, who remains on bail on suspicion of phone hacking and corruption, was lent the horse in 2008.

The horse, named Raisa, was returned aged 24 to the police force in 2010.

A Met spokesman said: "When the horse was returned, Raisa was regarded by officers from Mounted Branch to be in a poor but not serious condition."

The spokesman said Mrs Brooks had asked to home a retired police horse in 2007.

'No longer ridden'

"Mounted Branch conducted the normal property and welfare inspection, which was passed.

"As a result 22-year-old retired horse Raisa was loaned to Rebekah Brooks in 2008.

"The MPS was contacted in early 2010 by an individual on behalf of Rebekah Brooks who asked the MPS to re-home Raisa, which was then 24, due to the horse no longer being ridden."

Mrs Brooks paid for food and vet bills until Raisa was re-homed with a police officer in 2010.

The horse later died of natural causes.

Former Sun and News of the World editor Mrs Brooks, 43, is married to racehorse trainer Charlie Brooks.

The horse she borrowed was one of 12 retired by the force in 2008. A further 29 had their duties ended between 2009 and 2011.

Many of the animals are sent to The Horse Trust charity in Buckinghamshire.

The loan emerged as inquiries continue into the relationship between News International and the Met.

The Leveson Inquiry has been told the relationship between The Sun's parent company and the force was "at best inappropriately close and at worst corrupt".

The Met said it had informed the inquiry about the information relating to Raisa on 14 February.

On Monday, it heard that police told Mrs Brooks they had found evidence of more than £1m in payments by News International during the investigation.

'Distinguished service'

The inquiry also heard that police told her in 2006 its phone-hacking investigation would not extend beyond a sole News of the World reporter.

Earlier, Dave Wilson, Mrs Brooks's spokesman, said: "It's well known by people in the horse world that the Met looks for homes for horses once they retire.

"Rebekah took on a horse and effectively acted as a foster parent for it for a year or so.

"It's just a way of giving a temporary home to a horse that has had a distinguished service in the Met."

Mrs Brooks was editor of The Sun from 2003 to 2009 and then chief executive of News International until she resigned during the phone hacking scandal last July.

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