Police are probing the ‘strong possibility’ that the shocking mutilation of a horse over the weekend was a ritual sacrifice to the Devil
Dawn Jewell’s two-year-old Stallion Erik was horrifically butchered by a ‘psychopath’ who cut out the animals genitalia this Sunday night.
The stomach-churning butchery happened at the height of a full moon, and the day after Satanic Holiday ‘St Winebalds Day’, which fell on Saturday 7th.
Today a second horse owner, Rosemary Penn, from Bodmin, told how she lost a gelding in the exact same bizarre and cruel fashion, also on January 7th.
Although apocryphal in origin, Satanists have adopted ‘St Winebalds Day’ as an occasion of ‘blood rituals, dismemberment, animal or human sacrifice’.
It features in a number of ‘Satanic Calendars’, and cops are considering the theory a group of sadists chose the occasion, together with that of the full moon, to strike.
Insp Chris Strickland acknowledged genuine fear amongst animal lovers and the rural community.
The idea that a lone ‘psychopath’, or a group of cultists, are at large is being fuelled by the mysterious way in which the animals were apparently approached.
Both horses were either too large or too nervous for one man to ‘bring down’ alone.
And both owners are mystified as to how anyone managed to get near them, let alone kill them.
If a lunatic is following the so-called ‘Satanic Calendar’ – the next apparent event listed for January is a kidnapping, followed by human sacrifice.
January 20th – 26th is described as: “Sacrifice preparation: kidnapping, holding and ceremonial preparation of person for human sacrifice.”
The 26th itself is weirdly entitled: ‘The Da Muer ritual’ and billed as: “Grand climax. Sex rituals and human sacrifice of woman/child.”
Today a senior police officer acknowledged the fear in the local community that the killer or killers may strike again.
Insp Chris Strickland told the BBC : “If they able to do that to a horse, what else are they capable of doing?
“There’s a rural community out there who are going to be very worried and frightened by what’s happened.”
Insp Strickland believes a Satanic sacrifice is a “strong possibility”, although officers are looking into all the possible motives.
The first victim of the chilling killings told the News ‘no-one believed her’ when she pointed out her pony’s genitals had been removed ‘as if by a billet hook’.
Fifty-five year old horse breeder Rosemary told the News this evening: “I always thought it was a kind of ritual killing, and it wouldn’t have been possible for one man to carry it out.
“My pony Douglas had his genitalia completely removed and an eye gauged out: no-one thought it was anything other than wild animals at the time.
“A couple of people did say there were people with cult beliefs who might have sacrficed the animal.
“But who’s going to believe you when you talk about cults?”
Rosemary went on: “The way in which my Shetland gelding was killed was a deliberate killing by humans and it was a sacrifice.
“People swept it under the carpet: locals said you were getting over-excited.
“But I believe a billet-hook was used.
“To this day I don’t know how they got him: there’s no way anyone could have caught my Shetland single-handedly: he was a rescue, and if he panicked, he was like a wild Ram.
“No-one believed me at the time and I didn’t want people to think what they may have done, that I was just a soppy woman.
“But I believe I know what happened now and as an animal lover and a human being I’m very scared whilst whoever is doing this is at large.
“It’s one step away from a human sacrifice.”
Erik, the horse killed over the weekend, was a large and powerful stallion, unlike Douglas, Rosemary’s Shetland pony.
The killer ‘took his time’ to scoop out one of the horse’s eyes, slit his stomach and remove his penis and scrotum completely.
The unfortunate animal was most likely tortured and killed overnight of Sunday January 8th.
Erik’s owner Dawn discovered her ‘favourite’ Stallion dead on Monday 9th: she last saw him alive the previous day.
The 27 year mother of three runs Tretheaghue Stud in Stithians, West Cornwall with her farmer husband Clive.
The couple have three children, two young girls and a baby boy, all of whom knew Erik as a family pet.
A Mare and Foal were in the field in which Erik was killed, and the female foal, named Bella, is thought to be Erik’s offspring.
Dawn’s close friend Bobbie Pointer said: “I think it’s very strange what they’ve done to him.
“He was loose in the field. He was running with a mare and a foal. So it’s difficult to see how they got him down.
“They’ve cut into him to take his reproductive organs. Whoever’s done it, they’ve taken time to do it.
“They’ve knocked his teeth out, and even a very strong man couldn’t knock a horse like that’s teeth out.
“He was dead when Dawn found him: but there are no drag marks in the field.
“So I would say they restrained him, and then set about the business of doing what they did.
“They cut his eye out. They’ve gone to castrate him, they’ve gone to the front of his stomach.
“Then they’ve cut it down and cut it across and they’ve taken the whole of his genitalia out: his penis, scrotum, everything, it’s all gone.
“If it was somebody that was doing this in a hurry – his belly muscles would be cut – but it’s was like he was lain there, and they took their time.
“It doesn’t bear thinking on.”
Bobbie, who’s a close neighbour of the Jewells and a local taxi-cab controller went on: “Dawn rang me in the morning.
“She was beside herself: she said ‘Bobbie – Bobbie: Erik’s dead.”
“I went to check my horses were okay then went out to her.
“Erik was lain down in the field and there was blood frothing from his nose. When the vet was called she realised he had been mutilated.
“The Mare was really distraught: she’s been put in with some other horses and she’s settled down.
“She was sweated up, she’d been racing round, she didn’t know what to do: horses are very funny when they smell blood so she panicked.
“Dawn is angry today – yesterday she was beside herself. Whoever’s done this is a psychopath.
“The police will want to catch this person because they’ll be worried he;’ll do this to a human.
“A squad of men and dogs came down from Plymouth to do a fan search to see is they could find a needle or syringe.
“It’s just so horrific.”
The Jewells young children, thought to be aged eight, six and three, and two elder girls and boy, are being shielded from the horror of what happened.
Bobbie explained: “It was the happiest day of Dawn’s life when she got Erik: Erik was like her favourite child.
“Dawn always wanted a Fresian stallion. When she got him he was only five months old.
“Erik was such a lovely boy – he loved people.
“The children all know Erik because they were brought up around horses.
“He was so good natured, the kids could play around him.”
“The children still don’t fully understand what’s happened.
Sgt Gary Watts of Devon and Cornwall police said: “This was an awful attack.
“Between 1600 hours on Sunday 8th January and midday today, Monday 9th January, a stallion was attacked, mutilated and killed in a field in the Stithians area.
“During the attack the stallion had its genitalia cut off, its eye cut out and teeth removed.
“A mare and foal were left in the field unharmed.”
Sgt Watts explained: “Police and the RSPCA are carrying out enquiries in the area.
The results of a post mortem are not yet known but it’s thought the horse must have been sedated for the killer or killers to mutilate him.
Dozens of police with sniffer dogs were scouring the field in which the animal died as a massive man-hunt got underway.
A Devon horse lover has offered a £2,000 reward to catch the killer.
Graham Rickard told the BBC : “It’s a poor defenceless animal and it’s a sick crime. I hope they get caught.”