UK police loaned horse to key Murdoch executive

LONDON, (Reuters) – One of Rupert Murdoch’s most senior newspaper executives was given a retired police horse to ride at her country house, police said yesterday, one of the more unusual disclosures in a phone-hacking scandal that has shaken the British media.

The London force said it had loaned the horse, Raisa, to Rebekah Brooks – a Murdoch favourite who ran his UK newspaper arm and edited two of his bestselling tabloids – and said it had been returned in a “poor” condition.

Brooks cared for the animal from 2008 to 2010, the year when Britain’s biggest police force revisited its long-running inquiry into newspaper phone hacking and concluded there was no new evidence to pursue.

A keen rider, Brooks is married to a racehorse trainer and has a house near Prime Minister David Cameron in an upmarket part of rural Oxfordshire, southern England. She has denied often-repeated claims that she goes riding with him.

Brooks resigned last July as chief executive of News International, part of Murdoch’s News Corp, after an outcry over reporters hacking into private phone messages.

The row also led to the resignation of the Metropolitan Police’s boss Paul Stephenson and raised questions about the close ties between media executives and senior police.

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