Hartlepool, County Durham: Daniel Winspear

Daniel ‘Winnie’ Winspear (DoB 18/11/1990) of Arncliffe Gardens, Hartlepool TS26 9JF – smashed a tortoise to pieces with a baseball bat

Convicted animal abuser Daniel Winspear of Hartlepool
Cruel: A drunken Winspear smashed a tortoise to bits with a baseball bat

Drunken Daniel Winspear, who was aged 18 at date of conviction, carried out the attack on the defenceless creature – which is a protected species – at a house party.

Winspear was found in the conservatory in the early hours of May 23, 2008, with the bat in his hand and the dismembered tortoise next to him.

An RSPCA statement said: “This was an act of gruesome, sadistic cruelty and the magistrates sentence, including the disqualification, reflected not only the magistrates’ disapproval but society’s disapproval of such acts.”

Winspear had been invited to the party by a cousin who was already there. But on arrival he was “very drunk.”

John Ellwood, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said: “While at the house he took a small baseball bat and smashed a tortoise to death.”

The teenager who lived at the house then came into the conservatory and saw “the mess everywhere” and asked what had happened.

Mr Ellwood added: “Mr Winspear appeared to have the baseball bat in his hand and was smiling and accused one of the other boys of having done it.

“On further inquiries he admitted he had done it and was told to leave.

“The young man and his friends tried to clean up the mess and put the tortoise in the bin.

“Unfortunately they kept finding bits of the tortoise splattered about the conservatory and the smell was truly grim.”

The pet’s owners rushed back from their holiday in Blackpool after hearing about the sickening act, and they immediately called the RSPCA.

A vet from the charity said the tortoise had not died instantly but “suffered between the repetitive blows.”

In interview with RSPCA inspectors, Winspear said he was too drunk to remember doing it.

The chairman of the magistrates’ bench, Katie Brown, said: “The photos we saw made sickening viewing and you really should have faced up to what you did.

“You committed this while under the influence of alcohol which is indicative of the perils of alcohol abuse.”

Winspear was allowed to appeal against the ban on looking after animals after five years.

Sentence: 18-month community order with 250 hours of unpaid work; costs of £1,652.71 to cover RSPCA, vet and solicitor bills; banned from keeping animals for 10 years (expires March 2019).

Hartlepool Mail