A man has been charged following the death of a horse at this year’s Appleby Fair.

A coloured horse drowned while being “washed” in the River Eden on Friday, 8 June, the second day of the annual horse fair. It slipped and drowned after being dragged under water — to the horror of the watching public.

Twenty one-year-old Ian Deer, from Folkestone in Kent, was arrested yesterday (Tuesday 13 November) by officers from Cumbria Police and the RSPCA. He was formally charged under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 with causing unnecessary suffering to an animal at Folkestone Police station.

Ian Deer’s arrest follows what the RSPCA describe as an “exhaustive’ investigation.

The Appleby Fair horse drowning caused public outrage after graphic pictures of the piebald slipping into the water were printed in the national press.

At the time, the RSPCA strongly refuted claims that it did not do enough to enforce the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Today, RSPCA inspector Brian Jeffries said: “This was a shocking and distressing incident. The horse was pulled out of the river at the time, but sadly it was too late.”

He added: “Since then, we have worked closely with Cumbria Police in carrying out an exhaustive investigation.”

Ian Deer is due to appear at Penrith Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, 28 November, to enter a plea.