Rebekah Brooks, the former News International Chief Executive, was "loaned" a police horse to look after on her Oxfordshire farm, according to the London Evening Standard. In an eye-opening glimpse into the close relations between Rupert Murdoch's media empire and the Metropolitan police, the report shows how Brooks was allowed to keep the horse for over a year, before it was re-homed with a police officer in 2010.
The loan was first made in 2008, when Lord Blair was Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service - he has said he was not aware of the gift. A friend of Brooks and her racehorse trainer husband Charlie said, "Rebekah acted as a foster carer for the horse. Anybody can agree to do this with the Met if they have the land and facilities to pay for its upkeep". A spokeswoman for Scotland Yard said, "When a police horse reaches the end of its working life, Mounted Branch officers find it a suitable retirement home. Whilst responsibility for feeding the animal and paying vet bills passes to the person entrusted with its care, the horse remains the property of the Metropolitan Police Service". The revelation comes just a day after the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics heard that the relationship between Murdoch's News International and the Metropolitan police was "at best inappropriately close and at worst corrupt".
Brooks was first arrested on 17 July 2011, on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and on suspicion of corruption.