Blackpool: Robert John Payne

#TheList former Keighley Bradford councillor Robert John Payne, born 14/02/1975,  most recently of 23 Northumberland Avenue, Blackpool FY2 9SA – killed four kittens by swinging them and smashing them into walls

Psychopath: Former councillor Robert John Payne, who subjected four kittens to a brutal sadistic attack.
Psychopath: Former councillor Robert John Payne, who subjected four kittens to a brutal sadistic attack.

Robert Payne  swung the four-month-old cats round his house in Keighley, West Yorkshire, broke their skulls and most of their limbs, and decapitated two of them.

The cowardly former councillor for the Keighley West Ward of Bradford Council then kept three of the poor creatures in his freezer while their blood was spread round his house and their remains strewn across his living room.

Payne flew into a drunken rage and attacked the four kittens he had bought off the internet. He then ‘picked up one of the cats by its stomach and used it as a battering ram’ and ‘smashed its head against something’.

Police were eventually called to his house after a neighbour reported hearing banging and the sound of a cat screaming.

Officers were confronted by the horrific scene of dismembered animal parts scattered over the house, along with blood on the walls at shoulder height from where he had swung the injured kittens around the room.

Stephen Wood, prosecuting, told the court: ‘The police went inside and they were met with what the prosecution submit was an appalling scene, with fragments of dismembered parts of animals over the house, together with a substantial quantity of blood.’

The barrister said the pattern of blood on the walls suggested a ‘profusely’ bleeding cat had been swung around the room.

He said officers also found fragments of bone, an eyeball and part of a jaw with the tongue still attached on the living room floor.

Three of the kittens were found in a freezer and the fourth was found decapitated upstairs. Its head was never found.

The skulls of the other cats had all been crushed and nearly every limb had been fractured.

Mr Wood said: ‘Prior to their deaths, these kittens had been subjected to unimaginable cruelty.

‘The blood was contorted around the entirety of the room in a circular fashion, at shoulder height.’

Payne told police he was not ‘100%’ sure what had happened but said it was ‘more than likely’ he had killed them.

Judge Robert Bartfield rejected Payne’s claim that he couldn’t remember the attack taking place and labelled him a ‘coward’.

Sentencing Payne, Judge Bartfield said: ‘For some reason, you decided to take your frustrations out on these innocent creatures who looked to you for their care.

‘You had killed three of them in circumstances which for them can only have been in the most unimaginable terror.

‘Each of them was swung round the room deliberately, no doubt as to cause the maximum distress, and all of them had their skulls broken.’

Judge Bartfield continued: ‘The police and RSPCA were greeted by the most horrific scene, with the living room spread about with the remains of these unfortunate creatures.’

The judge said people feeling ‘revulsion’ at the case would wonder why Payne was not being sent to prison for years.

But he said he was bound by sentencing guidelines, which state a maximum prison term of six months for such an offence.

Bespectacled Payne stood in the dock with his hands clasped in front of him and showed no expression as he was jailed.

Sentence: jailed for five months and banned from keeping animals for life.

Daily Mail

Gabalfa, Cardiff: Matthew Blagbrough

#TheList Matthew Blagbrough of 177 Mynachdy Road, Cardiff CF14 3HL – repeatedly punched a young puppy in the face to reprimand her

Puppy abuser Matthew Blagbrough from Cardiff

On 28 November 2011 Matthew Blagbrough was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to the 12-week-old Staffordshire bull terrier, known as Molly.

Eyewitnesses, which included friends of Blagbrough, told the court they had seen Blagbrough grab Molly, who belonged to Blagbrough’s girlfriend, by the scruff of the neck and punch her repeatedly with his clenched right fist. The witnesses challenged him. The dog then broke loose and Blagbrough chased her up an alleyway.

Molly's injuries included facial swelling
Young Staffy Molly suffered a catalogue of injuries at the hands of violent Matthew Blagbrough

The court was told that the dog was taken to a vet the following day by the RSPCA and was found to be suffering facial swelling and bloodshoot eyes.

The vet said: “It didn’t look like the sort of injury caused by a routine trip or a puppyhood accident. It is my opinion that the injuries were consistent with this animal having been punched.”

Puppy abuser Matthew Blagbrough from Cardiff pictured outside court in November 2011

Blagbrough denied punching the pup, saying: ““She was a 12-week-old puppy – why would I want to attack her?”

He claimed that the dog’s injuries were caused when he slipped and fell on top of her as he was chasing her.

The court did not accept Blagbrough’s version of events and found him guilty of causing unnecessary suffering.

Sentence: six-week prison sentence, suspended for two years. 200 hours’ unpaid work; costs of £1,200; banned from keeping any animal for just two years (ban expired 2013).

Shropshire Star
BBC News

Torquay, Devon: Gina Robins

#TheList Gina Marie Robins, born 16/09/1980 of 29 Collaton Road, Torquay TQ2 7HH – microwaved a neighbour’s kitten to death in revenge for her boyfriend being reported to police

Kitten killer Gina Robins

Gina Robins shut the 10-week-old kitten in the microwave oven and switched it on. The kitten’s owner, Robins’ neighbour Sarah Knutton, heard a loud popping sound like an exploding bag of crisps before a ‘horrendous screeching noise’.

Miss Knutton went into the kitchen and found the black and white kitten dead in the microwave.

She said: ‘I was in a state of shock. Gina stared at me. She didn’t say anything. She just stared at me.’

The next day Robins sent Miss Knutton a text which read: ‘Remember the saying “what goes around comes around?” It has started already to bite you in the ****. The cat? Karma.’

Robins had denied a charge of causing unnecessary suffering. She claimed the kitten jumped up onto a worktop and other cats started fighting and shut the kitten in the microwave which then started up.

But prosecutor Iain O’Donnell, for the RSPCA, said it was ‘implausible’ the kitten had crawled into the oven and another cat had knocked the door shut, activating the appliance.

Vet Robert Cameron said the ‘kitten would have suffered prior to death’. He said its claws and ears – where there was no fur – were both reddened and its claws were clenched in fear. A post-mortem examination concluded that the kitten died from microwave radiation and there were ‘no other potential causes of death’.

Robins was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to the kitten and sent to prison for 168 days.

Magistrates noted her complete lack of remorse as they sentenced her.

Sentencing: 168 days in jail. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years (expires December 2021).

BBC News
Daily Mail

Stourbridge, West Midlands: Kirsty Sanson

#TheList Kirsty Amanda Sanson, born 26/07/1991, most recently (2019) of 44 Oldford Walk, Stourbridge DY13 0DP – left a dog to starve to death in shed

Evil dog killer Kirsty Sanson, now Kirsty Woods, of Stourbridge, West Midlands
Evil dog killer Kirsty Sanson, now Woods, of Stourbridge, West Midlands

Sanson, who now goes by the name Kirsty Woods after finding some poor sod to marry her, was prosecuted after the emaciated body of a dead dog was found in a small shed just feet away from the kitchen of the property in which she was staying

Evil dog killer Kirsty Sanson, now Kirsty Woods, of Stourbridge, West Midlands

She initially denied the charges, claiming she did not know the dog – a female Staffy named Paddy who did not belong to Sanson – was locked in the shed. The case was set to proceed to trial until Sanson changed her plea to guilty.

Sentence: community order, fines, two-year ban on keeping animals (expired December 2013).

Kidderminster Shuttle

Ward End, Birmingham: Jake Soden

#TheList Jake Soden, born 05/08/1991, previously of Northleigh Road, Birmingham B8 2QP (new address tbc) – caught on CCTV choking, whipping and kicking his four dogs

Jake Soden

Soden was captured by his neighbour’s CCTV cameras attacking his four dogs. The unidentified neighbour passed the footage onto the RSPCA who prosecuted Soden.

Soden would launch his unprovoked attacks on his terrified dogs late at night and early in the morning when he thought no one was looking.

His neighbour said the two huskies, a brown Staffordshire terrier type dog and a black cross-breed would “freeze at every move” Soden made.

Jake Soden filmed with his dogs in 2011
Jake Soden filmed with his dogs in 2011

“The dogs were absolutely terrified,” he said. “They would cower to the ground, their tails were tucked between their legs, their ears were down.

“They would never jump around or run about, as they were too scared of him.

I always remember seeing the fear in the eyes of the brown dog during one incident.”

The abuse was first recorded as Soden walked the dogs through the snow on Boxing Day 2010.

The neighbour said: “He would repeatedly kick the dogs for no reason.

“He would whip the lead down onto their backs, pin the heads of the dogs to the floor and stand on the lead to prevent them moving, drag them along the floor by the lead and by holding their heads, and pull the lead up in the air causing the dogs to be standing on their back feet while they were being choked.

“He would also punch the dogs, and in one incident he tied three of the dogs to a lamppost, and dragged a husky behind a wall, pinned it to the ground and started punching it. Before this, he looked around to see if anyone was about.”

Jake Soden

The chairman of the magistrates said the “sheer brutality was unbelievable” and they found the number of attacks an aggravating feature of the case.

Soden pleaded guilty to five charges of failing to protect the dogs from pain, injury or fear contrary to section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Sally Case, head of prosecutions at the RSPCA, wrote to the neighbour and said: “This case was only possible because of the video footage obtained by you, and I wish to pass on my gratitude again to you for both obtaining the footage and allowing the RSPCA to use it as vital evidence of mistreatment of these animals.

“We hope that the court’s order will serve to protect animals in the future from wrong-doing of this kind.”

Sentence: 15-month community order. Lifetime ban on keeping animals.


Update June 2013: Soden was back in court after being caught flouting his life ban on keeping animals.

Nick Sutton, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said: “Back in 2011 the defendant was seen on CCTV kicking and beating his terrified dogs in unprovoked attacks while walking them late at night and early in the morning when he thought he was not being seen.

“It recently came to the RSPCA’s attention that he had been filmed, again on CCTV, walking a new dog – a Jack Russell.

“It should be said that he is not seen abusing the animals, but it is a blatant breach of the ban. He is seen on CCTV on at least 10 occasions walking the dog up and down the road.”

Soden told the court the dog was owned by his mother.

“She told me to walk the dog and I didn’t understand the conditions of the ban because I’ve got learning difficulties, epilepsy, memory loss and schizophrenia,” he said.

The case was adjourned to allow the Probation Service to compile a report to recommend how Soden should be punished.

Although Soden was warned he could be looking at a prison sentence, the newspapers failed to follow up on the case.

Grimsby, North-East Lincolnshire: Jonathan Bloomfield

#TheList Jonathan David Bloomfield, born 25/04/1975, of 25 Grange Walk, Grimsby DN34 4DX – caused unnecessary suffering to a Staffordshire bull terrier dog by hitting him with an object, punching and kicking him

Jonathan Bloomfield from Grimsby was filmed by a neighbour viciously punching and swearing at his 18-month-old Staffordshire bull terrier, Butch.
Jonathan Bloomfield from Grimsby was filmed by a neighbour viciously punching and swearing at his 18-month-old Staffordshire bull terrier, Butch.

On 24/11/2011  Londoner Jonathan Bloomfield, who at the time of the offence was living in Stanley Street, Grimsby, pleaded guilty to failing to protect Butch – an 18-month-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier – and causing unnecessary suffering to the dog by hitting him with an object, punching and kicking him.

The court viewed footage – filmed between September 9 and October 18, 2011 – showing Butch, who vets said may have always had sight problems or even be blind, whimpering and cowering as Bloomfield punched him twice in the face and told him to “shut the fuck up”.

Prosecuting, Brendan Woodward said: “The most important image is where he clearly comes outside and punches the dog twice to the head.

“We have seen the action and the actions are not a proper way of controlling a dog. Every time that door opened, the dog was not wagging his tail waiting to come in, it was in fear. You can see that in the reaction of the animal.”

Bloomfield claimed Butch had bitten his three-year-old son’s hand when it took a packet of crisps from him, adding he was stressed from work and was “sick of the dog barking”.

However, Bloomfield denied any involvement in the footage showing Butch being repeatedly hit with a pole, which was accepted by the prosecution because the person doing it is standing behind a door and cannot be seen on camera.

A woman in a bra and trousers with a towel on her head opens the door and appears to whip the dog with a cloth before slamming the door in its face
A woman in a bra and trousers with a towel on her head (Bloomfield’s partner Michelle Walker) opens the door and appears to whip the dog with a cloth before slamming the door in his face

Magistrates also heard Bloomfield had come under attack after refusing to hand Butch over to a man who came to his door, who then hit him in the face. A short time later an “angry mob” gathered outside Bloomfield’s house and smashed his window, before police were called to the scene.

Bloomfield was arrested and his partner, Michelle Walker, and their son and one-year-old daughter, were forced to flee their home by social services, who told them if they didn’t both children would be taken into care. Butch was taken into the care of the RSPCA.

Banning Bloomfield from owning a dog for 15 years, bench chairman, David Stenton said: “It is pretty clear to everyone this is an awful case of animal cruelty. The dog was clearly very frightened and had been subjected to violence over a period of time. Weapons were used, including piping and fists. We know you received some rough justice and we don’t condone that.”

260 hours of unpaid work; £100 costs; 15-year ban on keeping dogs (expires November 2026).

Daily Mail

Craigie, Perth: Mark Neil

#TheList Mark Neil, born 18/05/1981, of Glenogle Crescent, Craigie, Perth PH2 0AH – underfed his boxer dog, causing him to lose one-third of his body weight

Starved and neglected dog Buster

Heroin-addicted Mark Neil, previously of St Andrews Street, Perth, admitted causing his one-year-old male boxer type dog, Buster, unnecessary suffering by failing to provide an adequate diet between an unknown date and 9 March 2011.

The Scottish SPCA were alerted by a local dog warden following a complaint from a member of the public.

Buster was severely emaciated with his spine, ribs and hips clearly visible. He weighed just 17kg when a healthy dog of his age and breed should be 24.5kg.

Buster recovered and was rehomed.

Two years prior to his conviction for animal cruelty Neil admitted wilfully exposing a 20-month-old girl to unnecessary suffering after heroin and needles were found in her bedroom. The court heard that Neil was running a “shooting gallery” for addicts at the flat.

Police found needles and heroin in a drawer in the child’s bedroom, among her clothes. There were needles and bloodstained surgical gloves “within easy reach” of the tot.

However Neil was admonished after social workers told a sheriff that jailing or even fining him would “punish” his family.

Sentence: £500 fine; three-year ban on keeping dogs (expired 2014).

The Courier

Kirkby, Knowsley, Merseyside: Christy Draper and Peter Finnegan

#TheList Christy James Draper, born 14/11/1985, of 6 Dulas Road, Kirkby, Liverpool L32 8TL and Peter James Finnegan, born 06/05/1986, formerly of Mintor Road, Kirkby and as at November 2019 of 36 Browning Street, Bootle, Liverpool L20 4HH – caught on CCTV goading their dogs into ripping apart a tame feral cat; walked free after Crown Prosecution Service offered no case

Prosecution against cat killers Christy Draper and Peter Finnegan collapsed.
Cat killers Christy Draper of Kirkby and Peter Finnegan now of Bootle laughed as the prosecution case against them collapsed

Animal lover Alf White used to look after Tooch, a feral tabby which lived near his workplace in Kirkby for five years and was treated by staff as a pet.

But in January 2011 the tile showroom manager arrived at Knowsley Industrial Park to find the cat’s body on the ground.

After searching through CCTV footage covering the yard, the 54-year-old discovered shocking images showing Tooch being ripped apart by dogs before being kicked by a thug who was watching on.

The local newspaper, the Liverpool Echo, published the pictures in an effort to find those responsible and was flooded with callers offering information.

Merseyside police later charged Christy Draper and Peter Finnegan with causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

But at a trial which was due to begin on 2 November 2011, prosecutors offered no evidence and the case against the two men was dismissed by District Judge Ian Lomax

He said: “As always it is for the prosecution to prove you are guilty rather than for you to prove you are innocent.

“I do not know what the flaws in the prosecution’s case are but clearly they were spotted and it was decided no evidence is to be offered.

“The case against you is dismissed.”

The two men, wearing tracksuit bottoms and T-shirts, raced from the dock laughing, with one shouting: “You have wasted everyone’s time.”

Mr White, who was waiting to give evidence in the trial, told the ECHO: “I am absolutely fuming. I am shaking with rage. I cannot get my head straight.

“The man from the Crown Prosecution Service told me although they had the CCTV, it was not of the front of the building, only the side, so they could not prove our Tooch was alive when the dogs got hold of her.

“Would you be alive after four dogs got hold of you? I told him she was alive 29 minutes before the attack because I visited her to bring her a blanket and say goodnight.

“But he said that was not in the evidence.”

Mr White, who paid £360 for a vet to fix Tooch’s teeth, said: “You can see another cat, Sylvie, on the video.

“She was lucky to survive.

“She has been moved now to Liverpool Cat Sanctuary so at least now she will be safe.”

The ECHO asked the CPS why the trial collapsed and why it took until the trial date to decide it had no evidence but it failed to respond.

Liverpool Echo
Daily Mail

Saltburn-by-the-Sea, North Yorkshire: Paul Atkinson

#TheList Paul Atkinson, born c. 1968, of Westray Street, Carlin How, Saltburn-by-the-Sea TS13 43L – threw dog from jetty in freezing waters of the North Sea

Paul Atkinson of Saltburn-by-the-Sea threw dog Jess into the frozen waters of the North Sea

A nearby fisherman was “astonished” when he saw Paul Atkinson throw terrier Jess 20ft from the jetty into the sea in Skinningrove.

An RNLI lifeboat had to be called to rescue the dog and Atkinson after he jumped in to try to rescue her.

Atkinson admitted a charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

The court heard that he went to Skinningrove with some friends on September 30, 2011.

Prior to arriving at the area he said he had drunk two Newcastle Brown Ales and, while at the jetty, had a can of lager.

Helen Cox, prosecuting, said: “Mr Atkinson was seen by a fisherman on the jetty.

“He approached him and he said he saw Mr Atkinson pick up his own dog and throw it into the sea 20ft into water below.

“He was astonished and ran straight over.”

Mrs Cox said Atkinson then jumped in to retrieve Jess and placed her on a ledge, called a “H frame”, below the jetty.

She added: “The dog was popped on to the H frame and Mr Atkinson then climbed up.

“But the fisherman told him to go back and retrieve her because the tide was coming in. He did this and found himself in difficulty.”

Atkinson and Jess waited on the ledge for a lifeboat to rescue them.

Police were called to the scene and Atkinson was arrested.

Mrs Cox said: “The dog was in a state and was terrified. The fisherman said she was cowering.”

In court Atkinson disputed parts of the evidence, claiming that he dropped Jess from a height of 7ft into the water.

In his mitigation Atkinson said that he and four-year-old Jess wanted to go for a swim as it was a hot day.

The court heard that, after putting her in the water, Mr Atkinson thought she was swimming out too far so went to help her.

He said he got out but said a fisherman was then swearing at him and telling him to get her out of the water.

Atkinson said he got back in and the RNLI was called.

The court was told that Jess was “Mr Atkinson’s life”. He had rescued her when she was just a few weeks old and he had previously rescued other dogs.

Craig Beer, mitigating, said: “He accepts that the dog was placed from the jetty into the sea and that probably should not have occurred.

“He did see that the dog was getting into difficulty so, having been in with it and getting back out, he then went back in and stayed with it while it was on the lower part of the jetty.”

Jess has remained living with Atkinson.

12-month community order with nine months’ supervision requirement. He was also ordered to pay £85 costs.

Teesside Live

Stafford, Staffordshire: Donna Swift

#TheList Donna Lorraine Swift,  born 14/09/1972, formerly of Sash Street and more recently 2 Tennyson Road, Stafford ST17 9ST – let her dog Bobby become so underweight she was close to death

Convicted dog abuser Donna Swift from Stafford

Swift was feeding black cross-breed Bobby so little that RSPCA inspectors said the dog had been forced to use her reserves of body fat in order to survive.

Harrowing pictures taken when Bobby was seized by the animal charity showed the dog’s ribs were visible through her fur.  She was also suffering from a bad skin condition.

Single mother-of two Swift claimed she could not afford to take Bobby to the vet and did not need to because “she has never been ill”.

The court heard Swift had owned Bobby since she was a puppy nine years earlier.

After an RSPCA inspector visited Swift’s home and referred the dog to a vet, they rated Bobby’s condition at a lowly 0.5 out of 10.

A vet who examined Bobby said she was close to dying had she not been rescued. The dog was signed over to the RSPCA and in just a few weeks she had made a “marked” improvement.

Swift admitted two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

Sentencing: 100 hours of community work; contribution to £750 costs; banned from owning any animal for five years (expired October 2016).

Express  & Star