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Man accused of shooting dead one of his liveries’ horses walks free from court

A North Yorkshire livery yard owner accused of shooting a horse over an upaid bill walked free from Northallerton magistrates’ court on 27 March after the principal witness failed to turn up.

Edward Johnson, 36, who owns the GG Centre at Raskelf in North Yorkshire sparked nationwide outrage last October when one of his liveries, former racehorse War Kitty, was shot.

The horse, a seven-year-old thoroughbred was on loan to Beckie Warner.

On 15 October Ms Warner found the horse shot and dumped in her garden at her home in the village of Raskelf, near Easingwold.

It is believed the horse had been driven to her property in the bucket of a JCB after a £30 debt had not been paid.

Beckie Warner told the local press at the time of the incident she was “absolutely devastated” and couldn’t believe someone “could do something so evil.”

The livery yard owner had claimed that Ms Warner had not paid her bill for three weeks.

War Kitty’s owner Liz King told the local press the was “mortified” that magistrates had told Mr Johnson he was free to go. The horse was once owned by Newcastle trainer Robert Johnson.

Following the death of the horse last October the RSPCA removed the dozen horses it kept at the GG Centre soon afterwards.

“The horse involved in the dispute was not in the care of the RSPCA and the veterinary surgeon who examined the body at the scene stated that it was put to sleep humanely, meaning no prosecution under animal welfare legislation can be taken,” said an RSPCA spokesman last November.

The GG Centre could face further legal proceedings by another owner who alleges his horses were shot on the site.

Dan Kelbie of Darlington has said he is launching a civil suit against the GG Centre after three of his cobs were shot there on 8 March 2011.

Mr Kelbie claims his horses were shot a few hours before he arrived to pay his quarterly DIY livery bill.

The centre’s owners are disputing he was up to date with his fees and told the police it believed the horses had been abandoned.

Mr Kelbie said a civil case over the incident would be held at Middlesborough County Court later this year, but a press officer for the court said nothing has been confirmed.

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