Jury clears Somerby woman of animal cruelty

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A former primary school teacher broke down in tears this afternoon (Friday) after being cleared by a jury of charges associated with kicking and slapping a pony.

The RSPCA brought a prosecution against Sarah Moulds (39), from Somerby, after a video circulated on social media depicting an incident back in November 2021.

Mrs Moulds had been riding with the Cottesmore Hunt near Sewstern when the footage showed her chastising the family pony, called Bruce Almighty.

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She denied animal cruelty charges when she appeared at Lincoln Crown Court this week and the jury returned a not guilty verdict this afternoon.

Mrs Moulds gave an insight into how the case had impacted the lives of her family when she made statement outside court.

She said: “The jury's decision today has vindicated me; however the damage from the last 20 months' trial by social media is irreversible.

“The loss of my career, the hand-delivered death threats to me and my children, and the distress caused to my family cannot be undone. My loved ones have had to watch powerlessly as our life has unravelled based on falsehoods."

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Mrs Moulds criticised the action taken by the RSPCA in taking her to court, saying in her statement: “They are an animal charity, whose concern is animal welfare. They are the only charity in the UK with the powers to prosecute.

"They have been pressured to be seen to be doing something by online bullies and ill-informed high profile individuals, wasting a phenomenal amount of public donations to bring a politically charged case.

“At no point over the last 20 months have they asked to examine Bruce Almighty, my child’s pony, to see the environment in which he was looked after, or to check for injuries sustained.

"If they had visited Bruce on the day after this incident, or indeed any day in the last year and a half, they would have met a perfectly healthy, well cared for and happy pony – as verified by an independent veterinary practice at our request.”

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Referring to the video which sparked widespread outrage from people across social media, Mrs Moulds commented: “Today's not-guilty verdict, handed down by a jury of my peers, is a testament to the importance of due process, and to the fact that there are two sides to every story.

“It is profoundly troubling that, in this digital age, misinformation can spread like wildfire, leading to premature judgments and to jeopardising the lives and careers of innocent individuals.

“A snippet of video was taken out of context, and manipulated to paint a picture of me that is entirely at odds with who I am.

"I adore my animals and have dedicated my life to teaching and nurturing young minds; it was heart-wrenching to be so wrongly and publicly maligned.

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“It is crucial to understand that what we see on the internet, especially on platforms like Twitter and Facebook, is often a fragmented version of the truth.”

Ending her statement, Mrs Moulds added: “All my family and I wish for now, is to rebuild our lives, and move forward.”

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