Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire: Alexander Phillips

#TheList Alexander Phillips, aged 18, of Barrells Down Road, Bishop’s Stortford CM23 – kicked, strangled and suffocated a family’s pet cat to “teach it a lesson”

Phillips, then a sixth-form boarder at Old Swinford Hospital School, Stourbridge, West Midlands,  abducted and tortured a school friend’s 10-year-old cat Mollie after she had scratched him.

Phillips repeatedly kicked Mollie, tried to strangle and drown her, before finally suffocating her and hiding her body behind a sofa.

The prosecutor said the sinister attack had ‘overtones of a Stephen King novel’, while District Judge Steven Jonas described Phillips’ actions as ‘one of the worst cases of animal cruelty I have ever come across’.

Mr Stephen Blower, prosecuting, said it was thought Phillips provoked the 10-year-old rescue cat into scratching him.

Phillips returned to the house in Stourbridge a few days later and sneaked Mollie out in a bag.

Back at his school accommodation, he ‘kicked the cat as hard as he could until he saw blood coming from her mouth’ said Mr Blower.

Then he grabbed the animal by the neck and tried to strangle her.

Half dead, the cat was put in a drawer so she would not be found while he went to play on his Xbox with the owner’s son.

Phillips later told police he also placed the animal under a tap of running water.

The court heard that when he returned to his room, the cat was dead in the drawer, either from her injuries or having suffocated.

“But the unsavoury aspects of this case don’t end there as he took the cat back to the house and placed it behind the sofa in the living room,” said Mr Blower.

Expert opinions were sought from two vets. One said the animal had suffered ‘intolerable and extreme pain and suffering’ while the other described the cat’s fate as a ‘prolonged, sadistic attack amounting to torture.’

Phillips, who continued to visit his friend’s home in Stourbridge while the cat was missing, finally confessed what he had done to the school matron who informed the family.

He claimed to love the cat but told police he ‘felt rejected’ by her after she scratched him.

Mr Patrick Currie, defending, said Phillips suffered from mental health problems, including Asperger’s Syndrome and ADHD.

His father’s death from suicide had had a ‘substantial’ impact on him, leading to anger issues. Phillips had killed the cat on an ‘impulse’, he claimed.

Phillips pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering and to criminal damage by destroying the animal.

Sentencing:
17 weeks in a young offenders institution.

Express & Star

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