#TheList Kyle Keegan, born c. 1994, of 7 Gilpins Manor, Lurgan BT66 8AG – filmed himself bludgeoning a 12-week-old puppy to death with a hammer; broadcast the killing on social media
In a case that dragged on for several months evil puppy killer Kyle Keegan finally confessed to his evil crime on 4 June 2019.
Sparky’s body was found in a bin in Ailsbury Park, Lurgan in February 2018.
A post-mortem examination confirmed the dog sustained fractures as well as severe brain trauma.
Prosecuting counsel Nicola Auret outlined how Sparky’s body lay undiscovered in a bin, wrapped in a plastic bag, for two days before owner Ellen Hoy found him having been sent a tip off that “the dog was dead.”
Ms Hoy had a party at her home that weekend and she fed Sparky that Saturday morning before going to her father’s house later on, leaving Sparky in his crate in the front hallway.
A “really drunk” Keegan and a “number of other young people” had been at the party, said Ms Auret, adding that when Ms Hoy came home, Sparky was gone.
“She was told that he had got out,” the lawyer told the court, leading her to search the area and put out an appeal on Facebook.
Ms Hoy again searched for Sparky the following day, Sunday 4 February, but received text messages that evening “that the dog was dead and in the bin.”
The following morning, she found her dog in a bin wrapped in a plastic bag.
Ms Auret told the court a hammer and a t-shirt, both spattered with blood, were found beside the washing machine in Ms Hoy’s home and there was also spots of blood in the hallway where Sparky’s crate was.
When Ms Hoy asked Keegan if he had killed Sparky he claimed he was “drunk” and couldn’t remember.
She showed Keegan his blood-spattered top but he told her “he didn’t know how the blood got on it.”
Swabs from the hammer, the top and from the blood spattered wall were sent for forensic analysis and the results provided “extremely strong support that the DNA had come from the dog.
Arrested and interviewed, Keegan admitted the top was his but claimed he had “no memory of anything which occurred over the weekend.”
At one stage there had also been allegations that Sparky’s body had been put into a microwave and tissue samples were sent to Scotland for expert analysis but to date, no evidence of that has been forthcoming.
Defence counsel Barry McKenna conceded at the very start of his plea in mitigation that “it is difficult to say that this case is anything other than appalling.”
“It is difficult to rationalise the defendant’s conduct…it is completely inexplicable when one considers that the defendant himself describes himself as an animal lover.
“He is deeply sorry – it’s completely out of character,” declared Mr McKenna.
Jailing Keegan, Judge Rafferty said the fact that he had no memory of the incident, coupled with his lack of criminal convictions for violence caused him “very grave concerns” given the lack of explanation for the attack.
“Quite frankly, your actions towards this pup were vile, disgusting and savage,” declared the judge, telling Keegan it would be “absolutely patently clear to anyone such an animal would be entirely defenceless.”
Previous courts have also heard how police conducted enquiries with social media outlets after the incident was broadcast online.
Sentencing: 15 months in jail; banned from owning any animal for 30 years.