The Cornish stallion found savagely mutilated over this month’s full moon was drugged, and may have fought ‘more than one’ attacker’.
Senior policeman Inspector Chris Strickland made a second public announcement to the BBC today (Tues) confirming unsettling theories about the sickening killing.
Insp Strickland said his detectives are seriously considering the poor horse was ritually sacrificed.
But, in an aside unlikely to comfort the hundreds of worried equestrians traumatised by the attack on Erik, and other similar deaths, he added it “could just be a nutcase”.
Erik, who was two and a half and the favourite horse of Stithians family the Jewells, had his teeth knocked out, his genitals completely removed and lost an eye.
The stomach-churning attack happened over the full moon of January 8th to 9th.
The preceding day is the apocryphal ‘Satanic Holiday’ of January 7th – a date on which respected horse breeder Rosemary Penn says she lost a gelding – in the exact same way.
And in Holsworthy, North Devon this month the Ingram family lost their stallion horse Sammy: found mutilated over the eve of Friday 13th,
Police and the RSPCA dismissed those two cases as natural causes – but are pulling no punches over the sinister death of Erik.
Detectives have found out the animal was drugged, that he fought back.
They suspect a gang of people mutilated him.
Other than that – the shocking killing remains a mystery.
All hopes are now pinned on forensics, and the result of a ‘toxicology test’, which should find out what Erik was put down with.
Investigating officer Insp Strickland told the BBC : “We are taking the investigation very seriously.
“It would be great to catch whoever did this.”
But he added: “We are no further forward.
“We’ve followed up almost all lines of inquiry and have drawn a blank.
The officer explained that while he was put down by ‘more than one person’ Erik “did struggle at some point.
He said: “Whether it was before or after they sedated him, we do not know.”
And he revealed: “I’ve had more calls from the public about this case than any other in my 24 years as a policeman.
“So I know how concerned people are about this case. For anyone to attack an animal like this is quite shocking.”
The force are now openly advising horse owners to lock down their animals.