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A horse and a pony have died in a suspected arson attack and a “shocking” stabbing in Sunderland.

Police and the RSPCA are appealing for information on the incident, at Downhill Allotments, Rhodesia Road in the early hours of this morning (7 September).

A spokesman for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue told H&H two crews were sent to the allotment site at about 1am, to find stables, kennels and a car “severely damaged” by fire.

“Several animals were involved in the incident and unfortunately a horse sadly died in the fire,” he said.

Northumbria Police told H&H the force is treating the fire as suspected arson.

The RSPCA was also called to the scene, where a spotted Shetland-type stallion called Murphy had been stabbed repeatedly, and was so badly wounded he had to be put down.

Warning: very graphic images

RSPCA inspector Terri Ann Fannon said: “It was an absolutely terrible thing to have to deal with.

“Murphy was in an awful state. He was very distressed, as you’d expect. He had numerous slash and stab injuries all over his body. One stab wound on his back leg was so deep the damage was irreparable.

“Very sadly the vet decided that there was no other option but to put him to sleep.”



The identity of Murphy’s owner remains unknown and the RSPCA is urging him or her to get in touch.

RSPCA inspector Trevor Walker, who is now dealing with the investigation, said: “Clearly this was a deliberate attack. It’s absolutely shocking that someone would do something like this.

Anyone with information can contact the RSPCA appeal line and leave a message for Mr Walker on 0300 123 8018 or call police on 101, quoting reference 051 070918.

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