A woman has been told she may not be allowed to keep horses again, after she admitted animal cruelty in court.

Sadie Graham, of Corby, Northants, had let her two-year-old cob, Aztec, become so infested with worms and lice that he had to be put down.

RSPCA prosecutor Kevin McCole told Corby Magistrates’ Court on 4 July: “The inspector who saw the horse said it was the worst case of a lice infestation she had ever seen in all her years as an officer.”

Inspector Sheona Morley, who dealt with the case, told H&H: “Ms Graham had already received two verbal warnings from us last year. We had to call a vet out in May because Aztec was so emaciated. Then on 8 December he collapsed.”

A vet was called but the colt would not rise to his feet so intravenous antibiotics were administered. The next day the piebald was still collapsed and unresponsive so the vet put him down.

Sheona added: “The vet said Aztec had already been suffering for 10 days before he examined him.”

For the defence, solicitor Val Blow claimed that Ms Graham had attempted to treat the horse with worming powder, but as it shared its feed bucket with another horse, it was possible Aztec had not consumed the powder.

Ms Graham, an unemployed mother-of-two, is due to return to court for sentencing on 1 August. Chairman of the bench Pauline Bradberry said she should expect a disqualification order from keeping horses.

The two other horses that Ms Graham had kept in a field off the A6116 in Stanion were, according to the RSPCA, both “fine” but they have now been given away.