#TheList David Rourke, born 04/12/1958, of 6 Farne Terrace, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 4BS – hit shih tsu Charlie over the head with a hammer and set fire to his body
The body of three-year-old Charlie was found in woods behind Mead Walk in Walker, Newcastle, in March 2017.
At a trial in November 2017, Charlie’s owner David Rourke was found guilty in his absence of failing to meet the needs of his dog by failing to meet his need to be euthanised in an appropriate and humane manner.
He appeared before Newcastle Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 21/3/18 after being arrested on a warrant.
RSPCA Inspector Cathy Maddison said: “Poor Charlie was discovered when firefighters were called to extinguish a fire in the woods.
“He was inside a bin bag which had been set alight, presumably by a blow torch which was also found at the scene.”
Post mortem results found that Charlie died from a severe skull fracture as a result of blunt force trauma to the head, before being set alight.
It could not be determined whether he was struck once with immense force or several times in the same location.
Rourke gave no comment when interviewed and pleaded not guilty at the first hearing.
When he did not show up to court for the trial the case was heard without him and he was convicted.
In mitigation, the court heard that Rourke accepted hitting Charlie once with a hammer with the intention of killing him without causing unnecessary suffering.
He told officers he could no longer look after him.
He had tried rehoming him with family but it had not worked out, and he did not know what to do with him.
He had not attended the trial as he was working away.
Insp Maddison said: “Everyone involved in this case has found it upsetting to work on. I’d like to thank them all.
“We’ve been in the dark all the way through the investigation about what actually happened to Charlie and why as Rourke refused to give us any information.
“Whatever possesses someone to think this is an appropriate way to end a dog’s life is going to remain a mystery to me.”
Sentencing: 12-month community order; 120 hours of unpaid work; £750 costs. Disqualified from keeping animals for ten years.
#TheList Ade Akere (DoB 10/02/1983) now of Newham – brutally killed his wife’s cat and his neighbour’s cat hours later
Teaching assistant Akere strangled Louis at his home in Ilford on Christmas Day before stabbing him and putting him in a bucket of paint. He left the bucket outside a nearby school.
In the early hours of Boxing Day, Akere borrowed Tom, his neighbour’s four-year-old cat, so he could play with Louis. Once in his house he also killed Tom and decapitated him with a kitchen knife.
Shortly afterwards his wife alerted the police who recovered the bodies of both animals. In interviews Akere claimed he had carried out the killings because he thought cats were evil.
Sentence: 16 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months. 30-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement. Ordered to pay £100 in compensation to each victim. A restraining order not to contact either cat owner for three years was imposed. Banned from owning or looking after animals for five years (expires March 2023).
#TheList former company director William G Woodward, born 18/01/1986, of Redhouse Farm, Catesby, Daventry NN11 6LW and employees Artur Lewandowski, born c. 1984, of Ribble Drive, Darlington DL1, Kabeer Hussain, born c. 1964, of 58 Brantwood Road, Bradford BD9 6QA, and Kazam Hussain, born c. 1973, of 179 Haworth Road, Bradford BD9 6NT – caused suffering to sheep as they were killed
Abattoir boss William Woodward and slaughtermen Artur Lewandowski, Kabeer Hussain and Kazam Hussain admitted causing unnecessary suffering to animals after secret footage of halal killing showed workers HACKING and SAWING at sheep’s throats. The secret filming by Animal Aid also showed sheep being kicked in the head and hurled into metal walls.
The footage was passed on to the Food Standards Agency.
Howard Shaw, prosecuting for the CPS on behalf of Defra, told the court the footage revealed, “a large number of sheep were caused to suffer unnecessarily”.
Under the halal code, animals are supposed to be killed quickly, with a single sweep of a surgically-sharp knife. They should not see the knife before they are slaughtered, or witness the death of other animals.
But the Animal Aid video revealed how many of those practices were being flouted.
Its secretly installed spy cameras showed staff taunting the animals, waving knives in front of them, smacking them on the head and shouting at them.
The halal code also states that animals be allowed to lose consciousness for 30 seconds before being moved on to the next stage of slaughter in a bid to minimise suffering.
But footage showed slaughtermen Kazam Hussain and Kabir Hussain waiting between one and 11 seconds before the animals were sent on to be strung up by their back legs on the processing line, still conscious.
Animal Aid footage played to the court showed at one point Kazam and Kabir dancing and singing as they killed the sheep.
The footage also showed conveyor belt operator, Artur Lewandowski picking a sheep up by its fleece at the neck and at one point pulling his fist back as if to punch a sheep which was resisting, as it was sent towards the area where they were killed.
Mr Shaw told the court: “There’s one incident where the sheep is struggling. He draws back his fist in a punching motion but doesn’t actually punch the sheep.
“He almost throws the animal on to the conveyor belt by its fleece.”
The court heard that the two slaughtermen were professionally qualified and licensed and killed the sheep in accordance with regulations on halal slaughter when watched by the on-site vet, Pedro Benitez.
But Mr Benitez had witnessed animals being given less than 20 seconds to lose consciousness the previous year on the abattoir’s CCTV system and raised his concerns with director William Woodward.
Mr Woodward’s response was to accuse him of “spying” and lodge a complaint against Mr Benitez with the Food Standards Agency. He also refused to allow him further access to the room where the CCTV monitor was situated.
The undercover footage by Animal Aid provoked a national uproar, sparking protests outside the premises and condemnation from the Muslim Council of Britain.
The Government has now introduced legislation that makes CCTV mandatory in slaughterhouses.
In sentencing, District Judge Marie Mallon told former director Woodward: “It was your business. The suffering was extreme, and it wasn’t an isolated incident.”
Sentencing: William Woodward – 20-week suspended prison sentence; ordered to pay £5,080 towards prosecution costs.
Artur Lewandowski – 150 hours of unpaid work; ordered to pay costs of £160.