Sparkhill, Birmingham: Robert Fitzgerald

#TheList Robert Fitzgerald, aged 38, of Sparkhill, Birmingham, and with links to Staines upon Thames – threw a Yorkshire terrier against a wall and strangled her to death

Tiny Yorkie Titch was subjected to a violent death at the hands of Robert Fitzgerald
Tiny Yorkie Titch was subjected to a violent death at the hands of Robert Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald killed the tiny dog named Titch after he flew into a rage when he tripped over her. He had been looking after the Yorkie for friends Paul and Donna James at their home in Birmingham while they went on holiday to Spain.

But a court heard Fitzgerald became stressed following an angry phone call with his employers on April 21, 2018 and viciously attacked the defenceless animal.

A neighbour, Jade Leech, who had been asked to keep an eye on Titch by her owners, found the dead pet wrapped in bedding the day after the attack.

West Midlands Police and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) were called in to investigate.

A post mortem found Titch died of blunt force trauma to the head, causing a brain haemorrhage and fracture to the skull on the left side of the head behind the eye.

The vet also found dislocation of the tail bones 2.5cm away from the tip of the tail.

In a police interview, Fitzgerald, who, it was claimed in court, has learning difficulties, admitted killing the animal.

Rafe Turner, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said: ‘He has admitted causing the dog’s death.

‘Perhaps the clue to the size of the dog is in the name – Titch. The dog was owned by Mr and Mrs James who had gone on holiday to Spain.

‘Mr Fitzgerald had been given a spare room in the premises.

‘Ms Leech found the dog wrapped in bedding. The police and the RSPCA were notified. The lady said she hadn’t seen the dog since the night before.

‘A veterinary surgeon who carried out a post mortem examination said there was a fracture to the skull behind the left eye socket.

‘The dog would have died within four hours of the injury.’

Kate Scully, defending, said: ‘This happened as a result of stress. He was undergoing significant stress at this time.

‘He had recently moved from his address in Staines-upon-Thames. He was off work and was under pressure to return to work.

‘He did trip over the dog and things spiralled from there. His learning disability would have limited his ability to adapt to stress.’

Sentencing: jailed for 16 weeks (reduced from 20 weeks due to his guilty plea). Financial penalty of £115. Disqualified from owning animals for life.


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