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Murdoch editor got free horse from U.K. police
Updated 2/28/2012 2:45 PM ET
LONDON (AP) — British police gave former News of the World tabloid editor Rebekah Brooks a retired police steed to look after, the force confirmed Tuesday — but they insisted it was not a gift horse.

The Metropolitan Police said the horse was loaned to Brooks — former chief executive of Rupert Murdoch's British newspapers — in 2008 under a program that allows people to care for retired service animals and ride them.

Brooks' spokesman, David Wilson, confirmed that Brooks had been a "foster carer" for the animal and paid for the upkeep of the horse while it was stabled at her rural home.

"This is just a charitable thing Rebekah did," he said.

Brooks is married to horse trainer Charlie Brooks and has a country home near Chipping Norton, northwest of London, a posh rural enclave whose residents include Prime Minister David Cameron. Wilson said the couple "share a passion for horses."

The force said when the horse — which was not identified by name — got too old to ride it was rehoused with a police officer in 2010. It has since died of natural causes, police said.

Britain's media ethics inquiry is currently looking into claims of crooked relations between the press and police.

Brooks is one of several current and former Murdoch executives who have been arrested and questioned over wrongdoing by the News of the World, whose journalists routinely intercepted the voicemails of people in the public eye in a quest for scoops.

Murdoch closed the paper in July amid public revulsion over the revelations.

On Tuesday former police detective Jacqui Hames told the inquiry that she believed the News of the World had placed her and her police officer husband under surveillance to intimidate them over a murder inquiry her husband was working on.

Hames' husband David Cook had led an investigation into the 1987 death of private investigator Daniel Morgan, an unsolved murder that has been blighted by police corruption. The most recent attempt to prosecute the case collapsed in March 2011, and subsequent reporting in the Guardian newspaper has alleged corrupt links between the suspects involved and the News of the World.

Hames had asked Brooks in 2003 why they had spied on her and her husband and said she did not receive a satisfactory answer.

"I believe that the real reason for the News of the World placing us under surveillance was that suspects in the Daniel Morgan murder inquiry were using their association with a powerful and well-resourced newspaper to try to intimidate us and so attempt to subvert the investigation," Hames testified to the inquiry.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Posted 2/28/2012 11:58 AM ET
Updated 2/28/2012 2:45 PM ET
Rebekah Brooks, former editor of 'News of the World,' is one of several Murdoch executives who have been arrested and questioned over the tabloid's wrongdoing.
By Leon Neal, AFP/Getty Images
Rebekah Brooks, former editor of 'News of the World,' is one of several Murdoch executives who have been arrested and questioned over the tabloid's wrongdoing.