The Horse-Napping of Derby Winning Horse Shergar | True Crime Shorts

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The unthinkable happened on February 8th 1983 when a racehorse named Shergar was horse-napped!

From the Ballymany Stud, County Kildare, Ireland, the Derby winning horse was kidnapped in what became one of Ireland’s most bizarre and yet grim cases.

The horse was valued at £10million ($15million (USD) in 1983 and had recently retired from racing. Shergar had embarked on a lucrative career breeding with mares in the hope of resulting in another fine champion.

No one truly knows what happened to the horse but an investigation carried out by investigative journalists at the Sunday Telegraph in 2008, went some way to solve the mystery.

Shergar in 1981. Credit: Allsport

An armed gang, allegedly belonging to the IRA, had taken Shergar and held him for a £2million ransom, in order to help fund their militant activities.

They had broken into the home of head groom, Jim Fitzgerald, while he was relaxing with his family in the early evening.

They forced him to point out which horse was Shergar, as they couldn’t tell the difference between them. They then loaded the horse into their van before blindfolding and tying Fitzgerald to the inside of it with the horse.

Shergar in 1981

A notice on the gate to the grounds of the stud said to ‘close the gate on the way out’. The group did just that, stopping the van, and closing the gate as they left with Fitzgerald and the horse.

Four hours later and still blindfolded, Fitzgerald was released in the middle of Dublin, where he was told if he wanted the horse back in one piece, then they wanted £2million in ransom.

In the days that followed, a large horse-hunt went underway but no sign of the horse-nappers or Shergar was ever found.

A source told the Sunday Telegraph journalists that Shergar was machine-gunned to death and claimed there was so much blood that the horse slipped and smashed his head on the ground.

It was claimed that Shergar simply wouldn’t die, and they kept shooting until he stopped breathing. His remains were supposedly buried in a muddy bog outside of Dublin.

To this day, no trace of Shergar or his abductors have ever been found.

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