Animal

Six horses, dog and cat burned to death in ‘arson attack’


Their owner says it feels like someone set her children on fire (Picture: Charlotte Rayner-Grey / SWNS)

Two men have been arrested after six horses, a dog, and a cat burned to death in a suspected arson attack.

The suspects were detained following the blaze at Quimble Stud Farm near Lewes, East Sussex, on Saturday.

The horses, including several prize-winning studs, perished inside a barn that was completely destroyed by the fire.

Stud farm owner Barbara Joyce, 69, says her heart is in a ‘million pieces’ and it feels like someone set her children on fire.

The aftermath of the suspected arson attack (Picture: Charlotte Rayner-Grey / SWNS)
The barn where the prize-winning horses slept was gutted by the fire (Picture: Charlotte Rayner-Grey / SWNS)

She said: ‘What could I have ever done to anyone? I have never hurt anyone.

‘Why would anyone burn my horses to death? My old dog and my cat died in the fire as well.

‘The barn was just a shell and there were smouldering bodies around.

‘They were my babies. They would see me coming through in the middle of the barn and come to see if I had got them a snack.

‘The stuff that’s gone doesn’t matter, but I feel as though someone lined up my children and set them on fire and I watched.

Future stud stallion Pluto was killed in the fire (Picture: Charlotte Rayner-Grey / SWNS)
Pluto the horse seen here with Tatiana the cat. Both perished in the fire (Picture: Charlotte Rayner-Grey / SWNS)

‘We’re just in pieces. Why would anyone do that? I don’t know how someone could consciously set alight a barn full of horses. We are just reeling from it. My heart is in a million pieces.’

Ms Joyce has over 20 horses, many of them rescued, but the ones she kept in the barn were either competition winners – worth thousands of pounds – or traumatised animals that needed extra care.

She added: ‘These weren’t just any ordinary horses, these were our special horses.

‘The ones that were in there were the ones that either needed special attention or were for the show season.

Dolly the 14-year-old pug cross did not survive the blaze (Picture: Charlotte Rayner-Grey / SWNS)
Pete the horse was also killed in the huge fire (Picture: Charlotte Rayner-Grey / SWNS)

‘One was a young eight-months-old colt. What a beautiful boy, he used to lie in the stable with my granddaughter.

‘He was going to be our future stud stallion. He was an Irish draught called Pluto.’

She said the other horses were called Khwami, Rascal, Crystal, Pete, and Warwrick, who won three prizes at shows last year and was worth around £15,000.

A 14-year-old pug cross, Dolly, and a tabby cat, called Tatiana, also died in the fire.

Police are treating the fire as suspicious and have arrested two men, aged 40 and 24, on suspicion of arson.

The suspects have both been released on conditional bail until February 13 while enquiries continue.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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