Devastation as the foal woman bought to help heal her heartache after daughter's death is killed by arsonists in stable blaze
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Karen Bulman, 45, bought six-month-old Apache with partner Dean Smith, 39, so they could train him together and then ride out with her older horse.
But the couple are devastated after the cob was killed in a suspected arson attack on Mundles Lane in East Boldon, which also claimed the lives of British Alpine goats Lottie and her daughter Gypsie, belonging to Frederick Rylance, 75, the owner of the smallholding.
Northumbria Police is investigating the fire, which broke out at 12.15am on Thursday, September 17, as a suspected arson attack and believe it is a case of mistaken identity.
It follows an incident on Saturday, September 5, when offensive graffiti was sprayed on the stables and after discussions on social media protesting against a South Tyneside resident due to stand trial for a charge of rape – police say Mr Rylance has no link to the case.
Karen has joined the landowner and officers to call for anyone with information to get in touch with the force.
Mum to son Morgan, 21, Karen says caring for horses kept her going after she lost her 15-month-old daughter Georgina-Rio in 2002 to silent pneumonia.
Karen, who lives in South Shields, said: “When I spoke to him, Fred was in shock, but he managed to say ‘Your horse is dead.’
"Me and Dean went up in the car and we could just see it from the gates.
"I couldn’t drive up any further, but Dean got out and just fell to his knees crying.
"We loved Apache so much and after everything else I’ve been through, it’s just so painful.
"Somebody knows something about this and I would just like them to say who is guilty.
"They would have known there were animals in there because you could hear them.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police via the Tell Us Something page of its website or by calling 101 quoting log 14 170920 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.