A WOMAN found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to horses at a yard near Bromsgrove has been jailed.

These shocking images show starving animals which were discovered last July at a site operated by Annette Nally.

The 50-year-old, who was regarded as an expert horsewoman, was jailed for 26 weeks and banned from keeping any animal for life at a sentencing hearing in Kidderminster today (September 6).

Nally, from Pryor Road, Oldbury, kept horses including a number of former racehorses, at the yard and another site in Solihull.

She had previously been found guilty on four charges, three of causing unnecessary suffering and one of failing to take reasonable steps to care for an animal, in a case bought by the RSPCA.

Inspectors from the charity were called after members of the public discovered emaciated horses and one dead horse at the yard in Stoke Prior.

District Judge Ian Strongman described conditions in a barn at the yard as a "filthy stinking mess" and as he delivered his verdict said Nally had seen animals deteriorating in front of her and done nothing to stop it.

He added that RSPCA inspectors had been so traumatised by what they had seen at the yard they were unable to continue working on the investigation.

Nally, who denied all the charges, claimed the horses in her care had been unable to eat properly because the hot summer had caused grass in the fields not to grow.

She also denied the animals had been left without water and claimed three horses had been affected by a mystery illness which caused their faeces to become bright yellow.

The judge dismissed her explanation as "entirely bogus and untrue".

In mitigation her solicitor, who wished only to be known as Ms Whitehead, told the court her client has debts including a £2,000 vet's bill, now works a courier and "just about manages to survive".

Ms Whitehead added Nally was of previous good character and described the case as a "blip".

The judge said Nally's reputation for caring for horses meant the public and the Retraining of Racehorses charity send animals to her in good faith and the breach of trust was an aggravating feature of the case.