Show jumper Laura Newman faces extradition on hustling charge

  • Show jumper Laura Newman could be extradited to Belgium to answer questions over the alleged theft of four horses said to be worth £150,000.

    Police confirmed that Miss Newman, 29, of Breaston, Derbyshire, was arrested on 9 July after an international arrest warrant was issued by Belgian police.

    She was asked to appear at Horseferry Road Magistrates Court that day and will appear there again on 7 September for an extradition hearing.

    The horses were allegedly stolen from the yard of Joelle Triplot-Leonard near Liege on 27 December last year.

    And a spokesman for Derbyshire Police said the horses have been recovered at two undisclosed properties within the county.

    Mrs Triplot-Leonard does not speak English but her friend and spokesman Meitie Dekkers told H&H seven horses were stolen from the yard: four belonging to Mrs Triplot-Leonard; two to a dealer called Guy Jacobs and another that was being ridden by Mrs Triplot-Leonard’s son Jonathan, for an owner.

    The women posted the horses’ details on websites across Europe and Mrs Dekkers alerted police after an anonymous tip-off led to the discovery in Derbyshire of 17hh chestnut Oldenburg gelding Atleht; grey 16.3hh Holsteiner gelding Liago, Poutche La Mouche — a 16hh Westphalian filly — and Caretane, a Zangersheide colt.

    Mrs Dekkers said a Polish warmblood gelding named Polo is still missing.

    Miss Newman told H&H the horses came to the UK through Mr Jacobs and he had left one of them on her yard and sold the others to Joan Whetter, who she rides for.

    H&H was unable to contact Mr Jacobs or Mrs Whetter to verify this. It is not known if Mr Jacobs’ horses are still missing.

    Miss Newman said she had attended court of her own volition to help Belgian police.

    And her solicitor Stephen Gentle said: “We are contesting the extradition order and Laura robustly denies committing any offence.”

    Laura made it to the final of the British Open Show Jumping Championships in April and was one of H&H’s 100 to watch in 2009 (1 January).

    This article was first published in Horse & Hound (27 August, ’09)

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