‘Dangerous sexual deviant’ found guilty of having sex with horse at farm

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A ‘dangerous sexual deviant’ has been found guilty of having sex with a horse at a farm in Wakefield.

A jury convicted Julian Ridgeway, 53, of intercourse with an animal and trespass with intent to commit a sexual offence after a trial at Leeds Crown Court.

The court heard Ridgeway lead the horse, called Honey, into a pig pen in an outbuilding before running away when disturbed by the animal’s owners at a farm in Netherton, Wakefield.

The horse was later examined by a vet and DNA was recovered from inside the animal which matched Ridgeway’s.

It’s not been revealed that Ridgeway attempted to murder a 16-year-old girl in 1990 after she caught him about to have sex with her pony.

Ridgeway served an eight-year prison sentence over the incident in which he tried to choke the teenager so “she would not live to tell the tale.”

Jurors were told of Ridgeway’s 25-year-old conviction today after taking less than an hour to reach unanimous verdicts.

Ridgeway was remanded in custody until February 3 to allow for a psychiatric report before he is sentenced.

Recorder Paul Greaney, QC, said: “A man with your level of deviance clearly needs help.”

In another incident in 2011, Ridgeway’s home was searched by police and a video cassette was found of a man having sex with a horse.

Ridgeway, of South Lane, Netherton, was arrested in May this year after a couple hid in a barn and kept watch when they became concerned about the way their 13-year-old mare had been behaving.

Honey’s owner Louise Lumley watched with her husband as Ridgeway lead the horse into the pen before challenging him.

Ridgeway ran off from the farm but was later questioned by police and denied being the man involved.

He was then arrested after the DNA evidence was recovered from the animal.

The offences took place between April 18 and May 10 this year.

Ridgeway gave evidence at the trial in which he denied having a “long-term sexual fascination” with horses.

He admitted touching the horse but said his behaviour was not sexual. He claimed the DNA must have come from his clothing during the touching.

After the case, Detective Constable Donna Moss, of West Yorkshire Police, said: “Credit must go to the horse’s owner for making her own investigations and doing what she did knowing about Ridgeway’s past.

“The jury made the right decision based on the evidence they were presented with to make sure this persistent dangerous offender is put behind bars.”

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It is more than a quarter of a century since Ridgeway’s trial for attempted murder.

A newspaper report of the case from March 1991 states Ridgeway was taken from the dock at Leeds Crown Court protesting: “I have never had sex with a horse.”

That jury took less than half an hour to reach their verdict finding Ridgeway, then 28, guilty of attempted murder on July 3, 1990.

The prosecution claimed he had twice chocked her unconscious to silence her after she had found him in a “compromising situation” with her mare Ripple.

Sentencing Ridgeway, Mr Justice Jowett said: “You were about to behave in a disgusting manner with her pony and when she surprised you, you quite plainly decided she should not live to tell the tale.”

The judge said that a serious aspect of the case was that Ridgeway had twice choked the girl unconscious.

He had probably thought he had killed her the first time.

“You dragged and lifted her body to a place where you hoped to conceal it.

“When you saw her begin to revive, that should have brought you to your senses; it did not.

“You then tried a second time to kill her.

“It is quite clear to me, but for the fortunate appearance of her mother on the scene, you would have kept the pressure on her throat and made no mistake about it the second time, and she would have died.”

The victim had described to the jury how she had gone to a field off Denby Dale Road, Wakefield, to look for her pony and found Ridgeway half naked.

He had no trousers or underpants on and appeared to be washing the backside of her pony from a bucket

Ridgeway denied that he had been interfering with her horse that day and said he was not responsible for attacking the teenager.