A FAMILY have told how a conwoman’s lies over the horse they loved have left them devastated.

Tom Iveson, 26, wanted to give his wife Lisa, 28, a mare as a wedding gift. But unknown to him, when he paid £1,400 to Deborah Cooper for the piebald cob mare Saska, it did not belong to her.

On the day the couple were due to attend a friend’s marriage, police told them they would have to give Saska up.

Robert Stevenson, prosecuting, told York Crown Court the Ivesons, from Pocklington, were the second people to be cheated by Cooper, 43.

She had conned owner Anne Harrison into lending her Saska for six months, but when Mrs Harrison tried to collect Saska at the end of the loan both she and Cooper had disappeared and she never received a penny. PC Sarah Ward tracked Saska down after pictures of the mare were posted on Facebook, and the conwoman was yesterday jailed for 12 months.

Mr Iveson said: “We were absolutely devastated. Saska was one of the family. We had no idea, there was no reason whatsoever to even think Deborah Cooper wasn’t the genuine owner of the horse. We feel cheated.

“She had become very friendly with my wife. She had occasionally come round for a cup of tea. She was a complete conwoman.”

Cooper, 43, of Chapel Garth, Broomfleet, near Brough, pleaded guilty to theft and fraud.

For Cooper, Thomas Ledden said it was not a sophisticated theft and Cooper had given sufficient details to the victims that it was inevitable she would be caught.