Tag Archives: 2019 cases

Hartlepool, County Durham: Michaela Durkin

#TheList Michaela Alison Durkin, born c. 1995, of Jesmond Gardens, Hartlepool TS24 – allowed her dog to suffer with a broken leg for a month, eventually forcing vets to amputate it.

Whippet Lola was left to suffer with a broken leg for four weeks by her callous owner Michaela Durkin
Whippet Lola was left to suffer with a broken leg for four weeks by her callous owner Michaela Durkin

Durkin pleaded guilty one count of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal between March and April 2019.

The mother-of-two lied to RSPCA inspectors claiming her whippet, Lola, had fallen down the stairs and injured her right hind leg, but appeared to “brighten up” after a couple of days.

A member of the public contacted the animal welfare charity after noticing the family pet had an “obvious and noticeable injury”. Lola was unable to put any weight on the leg and it appeared visibly swollen.

The court heardhow Durkin denied witnessing Lola falling down the stairs, but had heard a yelp. However, she claimed she could not remember the date that the dog first began holding up one leg.

Dave Dedman, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said: “Lola was taken to see a vet who stated she was incapable of putting any weight on the leg and it was clear there was a fracture to the femur, muscle contractures and shortening of the limb.

“She said that had occurred over a prolonged period of time. She was hospitalised on April 5, 2019, but very sadly, because of the break and because the muscle had contracted, Lola had her right hind leg amputated on April 8.”

Whippet Lola was left to suffer with a broken leg for four weeks by her callous owner Michaela Durkin

Durkin, was interviewed four days later and said she thought Lola had not been herself for a couple of days, but had perked back up and she had no reason to think Lola’s leg was broken.

Vets caring for the whippet confirmed it was impossible for the dog to have sustained the injury by falling down the stairs and said the fracture had happened at least four weeks prior to the RSPCA investigation.

Whippet Lola was left to suffer with a broken leg for four weeks by her callous owner Michaela Durkin

They instead suggested Lola’s leg had been subjected to “substantial lateral force”. The court heard allegations that the father of Durkin’s children had kicked the dog, however no charges were brought against him.

Mr Dedman concluded there had been “prolonged neglect”, adding: “It’s a very sad and there’s a high level of suffering caused to the dog, to the point where her leg had to be amputated.”

A probation report stated Durkin had significant personal and financial problems and could not afford veterinary bills.

Durkin’s solicitor, Gavin Musgrave, conceded the family pet had sustained a “horrific injury” and told the court that Lola had been signed over into the care of the RSPCA.

Mr Musgrave said: “She was a responsible dog owner and she’s had animals in the past. She’s very remorseful for the incident and she’s fearful of the consequences.”

Sentencing: 12-month community order; total of £485 fine and charges. Disqualified from owning or being in control of any animal for ten years.

Northern Echo
Teesside Live

Preston, Lancashire: Bradley Tomes

#TheList unlicensed animal trader Bradley Michael Tomes, born 27/04/1995, of Moss Lane, Hesketh Bank, Preston PR4 – kept dozens of exotic animals in filthy conditions and with untreated injuries

Some of the animals rescued from Bradley Tomes of Preston, Lancashire

Tomes pleaded guilty to 15 offences under the Animal Welfare Act after dozens of neglected exotic animals had to be rescued by the RSPCA.

The offences relate to six iguanas; two mara (large rodents from South America); 16 peafowl; two pelicans; three agouti (a rodent native to America and South America); five porcupines; one green parakeet; two jardine parrots; one golden pheasant; one green winged macaw; one white necked raven and one cape parrot.

In January 2019 the RSPCA were called by police to a farm on Taylors Meanygate in Tarleton and found the animals being kept in squalid and unsuitable conditions. The charity then attended a second address on Moss Lane, Tarleton where a shed-type building at the back of the premises contained a number of animals.

RSPCA Deputy Chief Inspector Alison Fletcher said: “Some of these animals were species we as RSPCA inspectors of many years’ experience had never dealt with before, and it was a shock to see them kept in such conditions.

“Both locations were filthy. Many of the animals were in accommodation that was obviously completely unsuitable, did not have access to food or water, or were suffering.

“At the farm, we found two mara inside a small plastic transportation crate on the floor of one of the make-shift buildings. Mara are a large rodent who stand up on their hind legs. The height of the crate was 300mm, or just 12 inches. The depth of the crate was 560mm, and the length was 870mm giving no real room for them to move around.

“A squalid enclosure at the same location housed three agoutis, two pelican and 13 peafowl (pictured above).

“Four porcupines (pictured right) were in a pen which was wet and muddy with just a small structure for shelter – temperatures on site were close to freezing with snow and driving rain.

“At the second address a macaw was found in a black crate, similar to a dog crate. The bird’s tail feathers were touching the sides of the crate.

“The iguanas were at this location too – all six of which were in poor body condition and four had injuries to their tails.”

Two animals, an Agouti and a Mara, have subsequently died, and the court heard further dead birds and animals were discovered at the same locations but are not subject to charges, as the cause of death cannot be established.

In mitigation the court heard that Tomes had an interest in animals all of his life and had been employed as a zoo keeper.

He had signed all of the animals over in February and pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity. He had gone through a difficult break up but had now turned his life around and had a new job and new relationship.

The surviving animals have been rehomed to specialist keepers.

Sentencing: 20 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months; 25 rehabilitation days; 120 hours of community service; total of £615 costs and charges. Disqualified from keeping all animals for five years with no appeal for two years.

Lancashire Post

Lurgan, Co Armagh: Kyle Keegan

#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

Puppy killer Kyle Keegan of Gilpins Manor, Lurgan, Northern Ireland
Kyle Keegan pictured outside court and his victim, 12-week-old crossbreed puppy Sparky

In a case that dragged on for several months evil puppy killer Kyle Keegan finally confessed to his evil crime on 4 June 2019.

Puppy killer Kyle Keegan of Gilpins Manor, Lurgan, Northern Ireland

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.

Puppy killer Kyle Keegan of Gilpins Manor, Lurgan, Northern Ireland

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.

Puppy killer Kyle Keegan of Gilpins Manor, Lurgan, Northern Ireland

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.

Puppy killer Kyle Keegan of Gilpins Manor, Lurgan, Northern Ireland

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.

Irish News

Blackpool, Lancashire: Nikki Haworth T/A Haworth Arabian Stud

#TheList horse breeder Nicola Jane Haworth, born 4 February 1961, of The Sycamores, Jubilee Lane, Marton, Blackpool FY5 4ER – kept horses in such squalor that 11 had to be put down

Horse abuser Nikki Haworth from Blackpool, Lancashire, UK.
Breeder Nikki Haworth kept her horses in such squalor that several of them had to be put down
A total of 31 horses were being kept in terrible conditions by their uncaring owner, breeder Nikki Haworth of Marton in Blackpool
A total of 31 horses were being kept in terrible conditions by their heartless owner

Haworth was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to 24 horses and failing to meet the needs of 31 horses.

Carmel Wilde, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said that the charity’s inspectors had found the animals living in dilapidated stables – some without doors or missing wooden panels.

The horses’ bedding was covered in months of urine and droppings, the court heard.

A total of 31 horses were being kept in terrible conditions by their uncaring owner, breeder Nikki Haworth of Marton in Blackpool
RSPCA officials found the horses in dilapidated mud-caked stables that had not had their doors opened in months.

Ms Wilde added: “The evidence shows the conditions were horrendous. Six animals were such an appalling condition they had to be put to sleep by the vet immediately.

“Five more were euthanased later. Others have behaviour problems and will never be ridden as they are dangerous.

“These were the worst conditions the vets and RSPCA inspectors have ever seen. Basics tasks were not carried out for a prolonged time. It was neglect.”

Some of the horses’ hooves were so overgrown the animals could hardly move because they were in so much pain, the court was told.

A total of 31 horses were being kept in terrible conditions by their uncaring owner, breeder Nikki Haworth of Marton in Blackpool

There was evidence that some had not been out of their stables for some time to use nearby sand and grass paddocks.

The remaining 20 horses were taken away for care and re-homing.

A total of 31 horses were being kept in terrible conditions by their uncaring owner, breeder Nikki Haworth of Marton in Blackpool

Writing about the case, which he said was the culmination of over 10 months of hard work and dedication by the RSPCA, World Horse Welfare, HAPPA, Lancashire Constabulary and others, RSPCA inspector Carl Larsson said:

In September 2018 a magistrates warrant was executed and I walked onto a stable yard in Blackpool. I was horrified by the scale and level of suffering one individual could cause to so many horses.

I saw 31 horses in stables which had not had the doors opened in months. Dirty bedding was stacked half way up the doors. Once opened they wouldn’t close again because months worth of muck spilled out.

There were horses with such crippling lameness from overgrown hooves that their legs were shaking with pain. They were unable to step down off the pile of muck out of their stables. One collapsed as it reluctantly made the step off.

Of these horses 6 were immediately euthanised on veterinary advice to end their suffering. Since then a further 5 have been euthanised on welfare grounds. Despite reports to the contrary none of the horses were killed because the RSPCA didn’t know how to handle them. Every decision to euthanise was made on Veterinary advice using police powers.

Since that time the individual involved has offered no defence for her deplorable actions. She actually hasn’t turned up to court yet. Instead she has taken to the internet and launched a smear campaign against the RSPCA and more specifically myself. 

I personally will never lose any sleep over what she or her friends may think of me however I will always defend my charity!

Unfortunately, until this point I have been unable to respond to posts on forums, Facebook or wherever else lies have been spread due to the matter being an active case.

However with today’s verdict I can now say that the conditions at this yard were the most horrendous I have ever seen in my time investigating animal cruelty. Furthermore the severe and obvious pain visible in many of these horses was sickening.

Today the overwhelming evidence was presented to a District Judge who had no hesitation in find the defendant guilty on all charges.

Sentencing: £4,000 in legal costs; six-month curfew. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years.

BBC News
Blackpool Gazette

Wallsend, Tyne and Wear: Clare Joyce

#TheList Clare Joyce, born 1993, of Station Road, Wallsend NE28 – left her husky puppy to fend for herself when she went into hospital

Irresponsible Clare Joyce from Wallsend told no one about her puppy when she went into hospital. The dog was left to fend for herself.
Irresponsible Clare Joyce left puppy Mishka to fend for herself when she went into hospital

Mother-of-two Clare-Louise Joyce was banned from keeping animals for just three years after puppy Mishka had to be rescued from her filthy home by the RSPCA

Joyce hadn’t told anyone about the dog but thankfully vigilant neighbours raised the alarm.

In court Joyce admitted failing to ensure the welfare of an animal.

Stewart Haywood, prosecuting, said: “The conditions inside were filthy.

“There were faeces strewn around and some of these faeces were mouldy.”

The court heard Mishka was “lean” when RSPCA inspectors found her and ate and drank ravenously.

Mr Haywood said: “It could have been much worse if Mishka had been left for longer.”

It was claimed the defendant had been battling with both her physical and mental health when the dog was left.

Mitigating, Mark Styles claimed a “perfect storm” of events unfolded in her personal life which led to the incident.

He said: “She’s utterly, utterly devastated Mishka was left,” claimed the solicitor, who said his client’s circumstances had resulted in her leaving her part-time job and moving onto Universal Credit.

However, thankfully, the court heard Mishka is now a “healthy” dog.

Chairman of the bench Paddy Watters assured Joyce: “She will go to a nice home.”

Sentencing: total of £630 costs, fines and charges. Banned from keeping animals for three years.

Chronicle Live

Bedworth, Warwickshire: Katy Liggins and James Johnson

#TheList Katy Liggins and James Johnson, ages unknown, both of Smercote Close, Bedworth CV12 0EB – left their dogs suffering from chronic skin conditions for months.

Convicted dog abusers Katy Liggins and James Johnson
Katy Liggins and James Johnson

Katy Liggins and partner James Johnson pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to Staffies Diesel and Roxy by failing to explore and address their chronic skin condition.

RSPCA inspectors were called to the couple’s home having been tipped off by a member of the public.

Before and after pictures of neglected dogs Diesel and Roxy
Before and after pictures of neglected dogs Diesel and Roxy

Investigating Inspector Helen Smith said: “When I first saw Diesel it was obvious he was in dire need of veterinary attention. He was constantly trying to scratch himself and his skin was so thick it was like that of an elephant.

“He has red sores which were weeping and it was clear he was suffering. Roxy was displaying similar symptoms.

“In my 20 years as an RSPCA inspector Diesel had one of the worst skin conditions caused by a flea infestation I have seen.

“Both pets must have been endlessly suffering trying to relieve their itchy skin. “

The RSPCA inspector went on: “The vet said they would have been suffering like this for months – which is so unnecessary as fleas are easily preventable with routine treatment.

“If pets do get fleas, veterinary treatment should be sought immediately so they don’t have to suffer needlessly for such a long period of time.”

In mitigation, the court heard the couple were suffering from financial difficulties.

The court ordered both Diesel and Roxy should be placed in the care of the RSPCA where they will be rehabilitated and re-homed.

Sentencing: 12-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months; 100 hours of unpaid work and 40-day rehabilitation activity requirement. Total of £250 costs and charges each. Five-year ban on keeping animals.

Coventry Telegraph
ITV News

Wallasey, Merseyside: Thomas Bennett

#TheList Thomas Anthony Bennett, born 08/01/1987 of 54 Rice Lane, Wallasey, Wirral CH44 0DQ – abandoned a dog, a snake and a bearded dragon without food or water for several days

Tom Bennett left three pets, including Rottweiler Bruno, without food and water in his filthy home.
Tom Bennett left three pets, including Rottweiler Bruno, without food and water in his filthy home.

Father-of-two Thomas Bennett pleaded guilty to three animal welfare charges after neglecting three pets, including a snake that was found dead at his property.

Tom Bennett left three pets, including Rottweiler Bruno, without food and water in his filthy home.
Bruno is recovering in the care of the RSPCA

The dog, a nine-year-old Rottweiler called Bruno, was found barricaded in a squalid kitchen which was full of faeces.

Neighbours allegedly heard a dog ‘barking for days’ on the street – with one resident fearing the house was empty for ‘at least a week’.

Tom Bennett left three pets, including Rottweiler Bruno, without food and water in his filthy home.
Conditions inside the property where Tom Bennett left three animals without food or water

RSPCA Inspector Anthony Joynes, who investigated, said none of the animals had food or water.

He said the python was found in a vivarium and had been dead for some time. The bearded dragon was in such a bad state of health that police officers initially thought he was also dead.

Anthony said: “Bruno was locked in a filthy kitchen which had been barricaded shut with furniture. He had no food or water and was surrounded by faeces.

“There were some empty dog food cans in the kitchen and because he was so hungry he had started chewing them.

“He was clearly underweight but since he has been the care of the RSPCA he has done really well and it is hoped he will be rehomed soon.”

Tom Bennett left three pets, including Rottweiler Bruno, without food and water in his filthy home.
Animal abuser Thomas Anthony Bennett from Wallasey, Wirral, Merseyside

Anthony said: “From the state of decomposition it was clear the snake had been dead sometime.

“The bearded dragon looked close to death but was given specialist medical care – including having a feeding tube inserted into his stomach – and made a full recovery.

“Sadly, recently he developed a tumour in his mouth and a vet decided the kindest thing to do would be to put him to sleep but I am grateful he enjoyed a few months of life being properly cared for.”

“Bennett didn’t even have the right equipment for keeping a bearded dragon – there was no UV light for him and without this they develop bone problems and will be unable to live a healthy life.

“Reptiles and other exotic pets are completely reliant on their owners to meet their welfare needs including requiring the correct levels of heat, light and humidity, plus an appropriate diet.

“People may buy them with little idea of how difficult they can be to keep and the animals are sometimes neglected when the novelty wears off and the commitment hits home.

“This is why the RSPCA would encourage anyone thinking of getting an exotic pet to find out as much as possible about the animal’s needs and whether they’re the right pet for them.”

Tom Bennett left three pets, including Rottweiler Bruno, without food and water in his filthy home.

Bennett admitted he had not fed the bearded dragon and snake for at least six weeks and said this was because he was struggling financially.

Sentencing: 12-month jail term suspended for 12 months; 20-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement; total of £515 costs and charges. Five year ban on keeping animals.

Liverpool Echo
Wirral Globe

Wallsend, Tyne and Wear: Melvyn Hall

#TheList Melvyn Hall, born 02/04/1948, of Ashfield Mews, Wallsend NE28 7RG – hit German Shepherd rescue dog over the head with a hammer and strangled her with a piece of washing line, before dumping her body in the River Tyne

Dog killer Melvyn Hall from Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, is banned for life after brutally killing a rescue dog
Dog killer Melvyn Hall from Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, is banned for life after brutally killing a rescue dog named Molly
Twisted Melvyn Hall from Wallsend killed rescue dog Molly by hitting her over the head with a hammer and strangling her.
Hall killed six -year-old German Shepherd Molly by hitting her over the head with a hammer and strangling her.

Melvyn Hall struck six-year-old German Shepherd Molly on the head before strangling her with a piece of washing line.

He then dumped her into the River Tyne. She was found washed up on December 6 2018 and the RSPCA were alerted.

RSPCA inspector Rowena Proctor said: “When the rescue called Hall he told them that Molly had died of a ruptured aneurysm and had been seen by a local vet but he couldn’t remember the name, which he re-iterated when I visited him the next day.

“However, in the interview that followed he said he had gone to the shop and come home to find her dead before going on to admit hitting Holly on the head with a hammer, strangling her with the washing line that was around her neck when her body was found and dumping her in the River Tyne.

“He said he did it because she was following him around and getting on his nerves and he lashed out.

“He showed me where he had done it, in his garden shed, and gave me the hammer he had used.”

Hall admitted two offences of causing unnecessary suffering to Molly under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Inspector Proctor said: “A post-mortem found that Molly had several fractures to skull and evidence of haemorrhaging however it was unlikely these injuries would have caused immediate death.

“The vet said that the attack on Molly from the person who cared for her would have caused immediate distress, which would have quickly passed into suffering when she received the blow from the hammer.

“The pain of a fracturing skull would be intense but the period of suffering wasn’t possible to establish from the post-mortem due to the decomposition of her body.

“They went on to say that the presence of the washing line and injuries to her neck, which were consistent with having been strangled, indicate that the owner was uncertain of the state of consciousness of Molly after she had been hit with the hammer.”

Sentencing: 18 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months; £1,000 costs. Lifetime disqualification on all animals.

ITV News

Helsby, Cheshire: Shirley Miller

#TheList Shirley Miller, born c. 1960, of Swireford Road, Helsby WA6 9BA – let her horse suffer after refusing to get him treatment for cancer

RSPCA said that Shirley Miller's cancer-ridden 23-year-old horse Bradley had suffered for at least 12 months.
RSPCA said that Shirley Miller’s cancer-ridden 23-year-old horse Bradley had suffered for at least 12 months.

At a three-day trial, Miller was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a 23-year-old horse called Bradley.

The court heard how the horse had a large tumour on his penis which she failed to seek veterinary attention for – and a veterinary witness believed he was left untreated for 12 to 18 months.

Bradley’s suffering was noticed on the day that Miller had loaned him to a woman to be his new owner in August 2018.

The new owner realised immediately there was something wrong with the horse and a vet attended.

The vet advised the new owner to contact the RSPCA and Inspector Leanne Cragg was sent to investigate on August 15.

Leanne said the vet found the cancerous tumour to be 10cm long and 8cm wide.

The tumour had been left untreated for so long that maggots were also visible. The vet said he believed Bradley had been left untreated for between 12 to 18 months and the tumour was inoperable.

Miller had denied causing unnecessary suffering by failing to seek veterinary attention and said she checked the horses daily but had no idea that Bradley had any health issues.

Leanne said: “Poor Bradley must have lived in agony for at least 12 months – even urinating would have caused him horrendous pain.

“The court was of the view that any reliable and competent owner would have noticed the suffering.

“It was clear he was in discomfort and there was a horrendous smell caused by tumour and maggots had infested it, which must have been almost unbearable for him.

“After hearing from expert veterinary witnesses the district judge was satisfied Miller would have known about the health issue.”

Bradley was seized by the RSPCA and was cared for by his new owner until a vet decided in October he was suffering so much the kindest thing would be to put him to sleep.

Sentencing: ordered to pay £9,850 costs and a £1,500 fine. Banned from keeping equines for just three years (suspended for six weeks so that she can make arrangements for eight other horses currently in her care).

Horse and Hound

Dereham, Norfolk: April Hawes

#TheList April Hawes, born c. 1983, of Banyard Court, Dereham, Norfolk NR19 1ST – threw a cat nine metres’ distance at her neighbour’s door

Hawes attacked a tom cat named Shadow after becoming annoyed that he was “scenting” her home, disturbing her own cats.

The court was shown CCTV footage of Hawes throwing the cat about nine metres into the front of a neighbour’s property, with the animal hitting a bin.

Prosecuting Ashley Petchey said: “Forty seconds later she is seen throwing it a second time.”

A CCTV camera captured the moment Hawes threw a helpless cat at her neighbour's door
A CCTV camera captured the moment Hawes threw a helpless cat at her neighbour’s door

On the footage, Hawes can be heard screaming that she hoped the complainant could see it on CCTV and asked if she would be cleaning Hawes’ house.

Hawes was arrested and shown the images during interview. She told police she did not realise her own strength and was surprised how far the cat had gone.

Mr Petchey added: “She said [the complainant’s] two cats had been scenting everywhere and disturbing her own cats.”

Hawes claimed there was no intention to cause Shadow harm. However Mr Petchey said: “Clearly, from the footage, it was a deliberate attempt to cause suffering. Shadow is now walking with a limp.”

Hawes admitted causing suffering to a protected animal.

Anne-Marie Sheridan, defending Hawes, said she suffered post traumatic stress disorder.

She said she had been woken by her neighbour’s cats, which had got into her home, gone through her bin and sprayed. She said she had previously asked the council to stop the animals coming into her home but no action had been taken.

Miss Sheridan added Hawes had to leave her window open to allow her own cats to come and go from her property.

Sentencing: 12-month community order with 30 days’ rehabilitation activity. Ordered to pay £85 in costs and a victim surcharge of £85. No ban.

Eastern Daily Press