Horse rapist - how the police caught Derek Woods

Here, the police reveal a step-by-step account of how they caught horse rapist Derek Woods.

• ‘Softly spoken’ Derek Woods was not in a stable relationship, when he set his sights on sexually assaulting an aged horse – the police have revealed.

• Woods, from Alphington in Exeter, began his catalogue of animal cruelty on December 18, 2009, when he was found asleep in Maggie Hunt’s mare’s stable.

• The horse owners suspicions were raised when she found buckets in and out of the stable had been moved and her elderly mare, Amber, had been injured.

• Dummy cameras and alarms were installed to catch the culprit, but without success.

• Some two months later, on February 4 2010, still convinced the offender was visiting the horse, Maggie noticed fluid on Amber’s leg. Testing showed it to be human semen.

• DNA was obtained but there was no information on the police data base.

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• A lack of power at the remote stable made police tactics to catch the offender problematic.

• The police technical support unit was drafted to set up covert cameras in Amber’s stable after Maggie Hunt contacted officers on July 5, 2010, reporting further injuries to her horse.

• At around 11pm on August 9, 2010, the alarm in Amber’s stable was activated. Police found Woods at the scene and arrested him.

• CCTV footage captured on that night shows Woods assaulting one horse before attempting the same act on a horse in a neighbouring stable.