THREE more people have been arrested in connection with the brutal killing of a horse.

Police yesterday arrested a 30-year-old man from South Ockendon plus two others on suspicion of assisting an offender.

A 31-year-old man from South Ockendon had already been arrested and bailed on Tuesday in connection with Monday's attack.

The drama unfolded at Kemp Farm, in Stifford Hill, Stifford Clays.

Horrifically, it is thought the horse was sexually assaulted.

The female owner of the horse had gone to check on her Shetland pony in stables at the field when she caught the two men hacking her horse to death.

The woman raised the alarm and, while one of the men managed to escape, the quick thinking lady locked the other man in until police arrived and he was arrested.

Sadly the horse died from its injuries.

Now residents and horse owners are up in arms over the attack and living in fear.

One woman, a 30-year-old who lives nearby in South Ockendon, said: “I’ve got lots of friends who have got horses in the field opposite and they are frantic.

“I live five minutes up the road and we’ve heard they still haven’t caught one of the men, so there’s another nutter running around on the loose.

“It’s so awful and the worse thing is that farm is not easy to get to, so whoever did it must have planned it and knew what they were going to do. This is just absolutely horrific.”

The woman said locally it has been claimed a machete was used to kill the horse, although police said no weapon had been found.

A spokeswoman for Essex Police said officers were called to the field at 4pm on Monday following reports that a horse had “been injured”.

She added: “When officers arrived at the scene they found a pony with injuries that proved to be fatal.”

Police arrested a 31-year-old man from South Ockendon on suspicion of aggravated burglary. They are still searching for the second man.

But senior cops have vowed to haul the attackers before the courts.

Supt Trevor Roe, of Thurrock police, said: “This is an appalling crime and we will be making every effort to bring the perpetrator to justice.

“A detective sergeant is leading the inquiry, which is being investigated by the Serious Crime Team.

“We are making every effort to ensure this case is concluded quickly.”

In the wake of the attack, police and officers from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals arrived at the scene to investigate the incident.

The area was cordoned off into the early hours of Tuesday morning.

At the time of going to press, the 31-year-old remained in custody where he was being questioned by police.