#TheList Matthew David Benjamin, born 18 May 1982, previously of Earlswood, Chepstow but currently (June 2020) of no fixed abode – kicked his pet dog repeatedly until he died in extreme pain and distress
The Staffordshire bull terrier, known as Diesel and estimated to be aged between one and two years old, was killed in the early hours of December 4, 2019 at the home builder Shepherd shared with housemate Phillip Moseley.
Prosecutor Paul Ricketts read the court a witness statement taken from Moseley in which he described how he had heard Benjamin walk into the property and call the dog “in a soft voice” three or four times.
The dog then ran out of the housemate’s bedroom.
“I heard Matthew and the dog go into the kitchen because I could hear two claws on the kitchen floor,” Moseley said.
“The kitchen door was closed and there was silence for a few minutes. Then suddenly I heard Matthew scream.”
He said he heard Benjamin shout “stop pissing on the f***ing floor” before the dog began to “scream and yelp”.
“I could hear every impact against the dog’s body,” he said.
Moseley said the noise was so distressing “I was sick in the bedroom because of the trauma”.
Mr Ricketts said Moseley went to the kitchen door but he was unable to push it open.
Moseley then said he heard Benjamin say: “This f***ing thing is going to die”.
“The attack felt like it lasted forever,” he said.
“I honestly believe Mathew kicked the dog more than one hundred times.”
Mr Ricketts said the police were called and Benjamin was arrested.
Moseley said: “It is so upsetting to think about the suffering the dog went through.
“It was a lovely dog and it was defenceless.”
Judge David Parsons heard how a vet recorded that Diesel suffered wounds to his head and shoulders and “lacerations to the face”.
The dog had died after sustaining blunt trauma to his abdomen and head.
Mr Ricketts said: “After the defendant was arrested, he told the police he had completely lost his head and that the red mist descended.”
Andrew Twomlow of Twomlows Solicitors, mitigating, said his client entered his guilty plea on the basis Diesel was kicked six or seven times, which was accepted by the court. In his probation report, the defendant said he was stressed at the time of the attack and was “gutted” adding that “the dog didn’t deserve to die”.
The court was told that the case had attracted considerable interest on social media.
Mr Twomlow told the judge: “The public outrage is understandable. The defendant has had his property and car damaged.
“He has been subject to a degree of vilification.”
The court heard Benjamin had only had Diesel for five weeks after being given the dog by a friend and didn’t know to train him. The defendant said his new pet had destroyed his house and his property but added that the dog could be “quite pleasant” and had taken it to work with him.
Mr Twomlow said Benjamin owned a “successful business” called Honey Badger Construction and Plant Hire Ltd and had at one point employed 20 people. He currently trades under the name M. Benjamin Building Services.
Judge Parson told the defendant: “This was a cowardly and vicious attack on a harmless animal and you showed no empathy for its suffering.”
Sentencing: jailed for 17 weeks; £122 surcharge. Banned from keeping animals for life.