Tag Archives: 2020 cases

Aston, Birmingham: Robert Iordan, Florin Nutu and Viorel Manu

#TheList Robert Iordan, born 28/05/1996, Florin Nutu, born 11/01/1984, and Viorel Manu, born c. 1980, all of 41 Dunsink Road, Birmingham B6 6PL – killed and butchered around 350 sheep in Northamptonshire over four months.

Police mugshots of Robert Iordan and Florin Nutu

Between June 22 and October 7, 2019, the three Romanian nationals travelled across rural areas in the county, killing and butchering sheep in order to steal the meat and profit from it.

The trio’s attacks on sheep and lambs, which all took place in the dead of night, had the county’s livestock farming community gripped in fear.

But they were hunted down by Northamptonshire Police’s rural crime team, acting on key information from NFU members and farmers, and arrested.

All three eventually pleaded guilty and were sentenced at Northampton crown court.

In a hearing in October 2019, the court heard the gruesome details of how the alleged operation was carried out.

The prosecution lawyer said: “The conspiracy involved the slaughter of about 350 sheep, all that have been slaughtered inhumanely.

“Vehicles and weapons have been taken to the location on local farmers’ fields, the sheep are captured and a knife is taken to their throats and they suffer a slow and painful death.

“A pipe is then inserted into the throat of the sheep which are blown up, they are skinned and their remains are left at the scene.”

NFU county adviser for Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland, Harriet Ranson, who was involved in the case from the beginning and liaised with police throughout, said she was delighted with the outcome.

“These crimes were horrific, barbaric and unprecedented and had the whole livestock farming community in Northamptonshire and neighbouring counties living in fear that they would be next for months,” she said.

“It is fantastic to see the courts treating these appalling crimes with the seriousness they deserve and handing down suitably lengthy prison terms to these dangerous men.

“This case really highlights how important local information from farmers, the NFU and the public is in helping to bring offenders before the courts.

“We’d like to thank Northamptonshire Police, their rural crime team and the police and crime commissioner for their relentless pursuit of these criminals and we hope this case sends out a clear message to anyone planning to do something similar – you will get caught and you will get punished.”

Sentencing: Iordan and Nutu were both handed jail terms of four years and four months and Manu was ordered to serve two years and 11 months inside.

Warwickshire Rural Crime Team (Facebook post)

Whitby, North Yorkshire: Lesley and Alexander Cameron

#TheList Lesley Cameron (aka Lesley Grimshaw), born 01/04/1960 of 30 Dundas Gardens, Whitby YO21 1HD and Alexander Cameron, born 08/10/88 of 2 Greens Yard, Church Street, Whitby YO22 4AY – left their pet dog suffering in pain with a foul-smelling infection

Dog abuser Alexander Cameron from Whitby
Alexander Cameron and his mother Lesley Cameron are banned from keeping animals until 2030 after being convicted of cruelty to their pet Akita

Lesley Cameron and her son Alexander Cameron pleaded guilty to offences related to causing unnecessary suffering to their pet dog, Tigerlilly The Akita was suffering from a painful uterus infection but her owners failed to take her to the vet for treatment.

The court heard that an RSPCA inspector visited the pair’s home on November 28, 2019, after concerns were raised that the dog had missed her last three vet appointments.

Upon arrival, the RSPCA, along with North Yorkshire Police, found Tigerlily in a sorry state and suffering from pyometra.

Abused Akita Tigerlilly
A deprivation order was placed on neglected Akita Tigerlilly who will now be rehomed

RSPCA inspector Claire Little said: “I’ve met Tigerlily many times over many years and she’s a very friendly dog who has always come to the door to meet me.

“Upon entering the room where Tigerlily was lying on the floor, there was a noticeable and unpleasant smell, and she didn’t get up which worried me.

“I encouraged her to stand up so I could check her over, which she did, and she had lost weight from my last visit.

“Immediately I could see that the fur around her back end was wet and dirty.

“As she stood up I could smell the unpleasant smell more strongly and upon closer examination, I saw a greeny milky coloured discharge from her body

“The fur around there was soaked and appeared sticky when touched and her fur was matted.”

Dog abuser Alex Cameron with victim Tigerlilly

She added: “Ms Cameron allowed me to take Tigerlily to the vets for examination and she was taken into possession by police on vet advice and placed in RSPCA care pending the outcome of my investigation.

“Tigerlily is doing really well with a foster family at the moment I am really happy that we’ll now be able to find a permanent home for her, where her needs will always be met.”

Dog abuser Alexander Cameron from Whitby

In addition to the disqualification, a deprivation order was placed on Tigerlily whose care will now pass to the RSPCA.

Sentencing:
Alexander Cameron – 12-month community order with 10 rehabilitation activity requirement days; 140 hours of unpaid work; total of £290 in costs and charges.

Lesley Cameron 12-month community order with 10 rehabilitation activity requirement days; £290 in costs and charges.

Both were banned from keeping animals for 10 years.

TeessideLive

Stanley, County Durham: Lauren Eliot

#TheList Lauren Jane Eliot (aka Lauren Purvis), born 02/08/1997, of 5 Thomas Street, Annfield Plain, Stanley, Co Durham DH9 7SN – left a poorly British bulldog puppy to live in a yard full of rubbish and a mouldy sofa.

Dog abuser Lauren Jane Eliot and neglected British bulldog Royston

Eighteen-month-old British bulldog Royston was underweight, had skin and ear conditions and was living in a cluttered yard full of hazards when the RSPCA rescued him from his heartless owner, Lauren Jane Eliot.

Dog abuser Lauren Jane Eliot

The single mother-of-one was banned from keeping animals for five years after she was convicted of one offence under the Animal Welfare Act.

She failed to appear before Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court but was convicted in her absence of not taking reasonable steps to ensure the dog’s needs for a suitable environment were met and not seeking veterinary attention for his various ailments.

Lauren Eliot with (ex?) partner David Anthony Barker with whom she co-owned Royston
Lauren Eliot with (ex?) partner David Anthony Barker with whom she co-owned Royston

RSPCA inspector Cathy Maddison said: “I had been to this property in April and given advice to the couple living there to clean up the yard where they said Royston – an 18-month-old British bulldog – was living in the daytime.

“I got another call about him in August and when I went the situation had deteriorated.

“Royston was lying on a mouldy sofa in the yard, which was full of hazards.

“He had lost weight, had red skin and his nails were long.

“Eliot said she was taking him to the vets so I advised that needed to happen and the yard needed to be tidied up but unfortunately when I went back over a week later neither had.

“The yard was even worse, with faeces everywhere, and the shed Royston was using for shelter had been filled with chairs so his only resting place was the now very wet sofa.

“Eliot agreed I could take Royston to the vets to be checked over where he was found to be underweight.

“The skin under his chin and neck appeared red raw, his ears were very dirty and he smelled bad.

“He was taken into possession by police on vet advice and placed in our care pending the outcome of our investigation.”

Dog abuser Lauren Jane Eliot

The court heard that the defendant had been left with the dog when she broke up with her partner and was not in a position to care for him.

Inspector Maddison said: “Royston is now fully recovered and doing great.

“He’s a fantastic dog, and I’m really happy that we’ll now be able to find a fantastic new forever home for him.”

Sentencing: ordered to pay a total of £400. Five-year ban on keeping animals.

Northern Echo

Cowie, Stirling: Ashleigh Hume

#TheList Ashleigh Hume, born 22/08/1980, of Brig O’Doon Grove, Cowie, Stirling FK7 7BZ – left her pet cat alone inside her flat without food or water for weeks

Cat abuser Ashleigh Hume pictured outside court

Neighbours contacted the Scottish SPCA with concerns for the welfare of house cat Morgan after her owner, single mother-of-two Ashleigh Hume, moved out to live with a boyfriend.

Officers forced entry into the stinking property and found the cat in an emaciated condition. She was described in court as “behaving erratically, hissing and crying while running in circles”.

Prosecutor Caitlin French continued: “There was a trail of rubbish bags which the cat had shredded and emptied, along with multiple empty cat food sachets and boxes which had all been chewed.”

Morgan was taken into care by the SSPCA after treatment by a vet.

Cat abuser Ashleigh Hume

The locks to the rented flat were changed and Hume was left a note. She only picked up the new keys three weeks later.

Hume was spoken to and cautioned at Stirling Golf Club, where she works, on October 16, 2019. Asked when she had last fed Morgan prior to the rescue, she said: “It was a few weeks.”

The 39-year-old, who has moved back into the flat, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering by failing to provide adequate care and nutrition to Morgan between July 29 and September 19, 2019.

Cat abuser Ashleigh Hume

She also admitted abandoning the cat contrary to the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act.

Sheriff Robert Dickson told her: “Your early plea has just – and I emphasise just – persuaded me not to send you straight to prison.”

Sentencing: 300 hours of unpaid work; fined £650. Banned from keeping any animal for 10 years.

Daily Record

Wolverhampton: Patrick Eagle

#TheList Patrick ‘Paddy’ Eagle, born 12/08/1998, of Deans Road, Wolverhampton – left his pony to suffer a horrific maggot-infested wound caused by a severely embedded headcollar

Gypsy Paddy Eagle allowed a headcollar to become embedded in his pony's head, causing a deep infected wound riddled with maggots.
Gypsy Paddy Eagle allowed a headcollar to become embedded in his pony’s head, causing a deep infected wound riddled with maggots.

Horse trader and backyard breeder of puppies and kittens Paddy Eagle pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the two-year-old piebald colt.

A concerned member of the public contacted World Horse Welfare about a group of cobs kept near Walsall, West Midlands, and field officer Charlotte Melvin attended the site in October 2019.

Gypsy Paddy Eagle allowed a headcollar to become embedded in his pony's head, causing a deep infected wound riddled with maggots.

A spokesman for the charity said Charlotte noticed a strong smell when she approached the last pony.

“On closer inspection Charlotte discovered the pony, now named Moses, had a severely embedded headcollar. The wound was very badly infected and full of maggots,” he said.

“Charlotte contacted the RSPCA, police, vets and a transporter. The pony was removed under the Animal Welfare Act and transported to the vets for urgent treatment.”

Gypsy Paddy Eagle allowed a headcollar to become embedded in his pony's head, causing a deep infected wound riddled with maggots.

The spokesman said Moses remained at the vets for four days owing to the extent of his injury, after which he was taken to the charity’s Penny Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre.

“Given how horrific the wound from his headcollar was, I’m really happy with the recovery Moses has made,” said Charlotte.

“Moses’ suffering could so easily have been prevented and it’s awful to think he could have been left like that if someone hadn’t cared enough to report the situation.”

“Thanks to the person who reported him, Moses is now happy and healthy and will be able to find a loving new home through our rehoming scheme,” said Charlotte.

Gypsy Paddy Eagle allowed a headcollar to become embedded in his pony's head, causing a deep infected wound riddled with maggots.

In mitigation, the court heard gypsy traveller Eagle suffered from mental health issues which affected his ability to care for the pony.

Sentencing: 12-week suspended sentence; £400 costs; 60 hours of unpaid work. Banned from keeping equines for 10 years.

Horse and Hound
Blackpool Gazette

Leigh, Greater Manchester: Ashliegh Tolley

#TheList Ashliegh Tolley, born 05/09/1991, of 82A Richmond Drive, Leigh WN7 2XW – left her tumour-riddled dog to die alone in a freezing flat

Heartless Ashliegh Tolley left her dying dog alone in a freezing flat for several days
Heartless Ashliegh Tolley left her dying dog alone in a freezing flat for several days

Feckless career criminal Tolley, who has numerous previous convictions for assault and shoplifting, was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to her desperately sick labrador, Roo.

The court was told how neighbours called the RSPCA to Tolley’s flat, as they were concerned her dog had been left unattended in the property for some time. They said they had not seen Tolley for several days.

Heartless Ashliegh Tolley left her dying dog alone in a freezing flat for several days

Inspector Emma Dingley was sent to the address and knocked on the door but when she got no reply she looked through the letterbox and could see Roo collapsed on the hallway floor in her own faeces.

She was in an emaciated state and Emma could see a huge tumour on her front leg.

She called the police for assistance so she could enter the property and rescue Roo.

Labrador Roo was put to sleep on humane grounds
Despite the efforts of the RSPCA’s veterinary staff to save her, the stricken dog was put to sleep on humane grounds

The poorly dog was extremely cold and was too weak to stand or lift her head. Emma carried her out of the property and rushed her to the RSPCA’s Greater Manchester Animal Hospital.

Staff at the centre placed heat pads on Roo as she was suffering from hypothermia and gave her fluids as she was severely dehydrated. Her body temperature was found to be just 33.8C where the normal body temperature should be around 39C.

Roo

The veins were very collapsed, which made placement of a catheter for fluid replacement very difficult. It was thought the collapse of the veins was due to both dehydration and hypothermia.

A vet also found a large mass, approximately 12cm by 20cm which was ulcerated and would have been present for weeks causing intense suffering to the dog but Tolley had not sought veterinary treatment.

Heartless Ashliegh Tolley left her dying dog alone in a freezing flat for several days

Emma said: “Roo was in an awful state when I went to rescue her. She was laid in her only faeces and couldn’t stand as she was so weak and in poor health

“She was freezing as there was no heating in the property so I wrapped her in a blanket and comforted her.

“She was clearly starved and as I cradled her in my arms to carry her to the van she knew I was trying to help her and she tried to wag her tail. It was heart-breaking.

“Staff at the animal hospital were doing all they could to save her but she was basically dying in front of our eyes and there was nothing we could do. She refused to eat even though she was starving.

“Sadly the following day she had deteriorated further so the vet made the decision to put Roo to sleep to end her suffering.

“It was so upsetting for us all – I just take some comfort from the fact she had kind people with her when she died and was not frightened and alone in the flat.

“This was a very upsetting case to deal with and there is never any excuse to abandon a pet – particularly in such a callous way.”

Sentencing: six-week jail sentence, suspended for 12 months; 20 days of rehabilitation activity requirement; £100 costs. Five-year ban on keeping animals.

Wigan Today
Leigh Journal

Shirley, Solihull: Samuel Johnson

#TheList serial domestic abuser Samuel Thomas Johnson, born 04/06/1985, of Ashwell Drive, Shirley, Solihull B90 3LR – kicked a dog repeatedly during a drunken and drug-fuelled attack on his girlfriend; traumatised dog put to sleep weeks later

Violent thug Samuel Johnson booted Staffy Rosie repeatedly as she desperately tried to protect her owner from a vicious drug and alcohol-fuelled attack
Violent thug Samuel Johnson booted Staffy Rosie repeatedly as she desperately tried to protect her owner from a vicious drug and alcohol-fuelled attack

Former soldier Johnson, who was previously cautioned for domestic violence against another woman, threw his girlfriend to the floor and strangled her before kicking Staffy Rosie as she desperately tried to protect her owner

The woman’s young son was upstairs while Johnson battered her and Rosie. The brave and loyal dog was left so traumatised by the vicious attack, she had to be put down by the vets just months later.

Serial domestic abuser Sam Johnson also attacked a dog, who later had to be put down
Serial domestic abuser Sam Johnson also attacked a dog, who later had to be put down

In passing sentence, the judge said Johnson had the power to inflict serious damage with his fists along with an issue with his temper.

He touched upon his ‘worrying’ history of two other actual bodily harm (ABH) offences, one inflicted upon a previous partner, and said future girlfriends needed ‘protecting’.

Despite this the judge concluded by wishing Johnson “all the best” as he passed a suspended sentence.

The court heard Johnson is now seeing a psychiatrist in relation to his time in the army, though his defence solicitor said the most recent assault could not entirely be attributed to his traumas.

Sentencing: four-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months. 30 days of rehabilitation activity and a structured intervention for domestic abuse course. 10-year restraining order. No ban on keeping animals was imposed.

Birmingham Mail

Portreath, Cornwall: Nicholas Holley

#TheList Nick Holley, born 23/07/1968, of Tramside Farm, Nancekuke, Portreath, near Redruth TR16 5UF – banned from keeping farm animals after sheep were found starved and mutilated at his smallholding

Animal abuser Nick Holley from Cornwall

Holley pleaded guilty to the following charges:

• Failing to provide adequate food to his flock of sheep

• Allowing sheep to have access to collapsed fencing and broken machinery that could have injured them

• Mutilating a sheep by docking its tail so short that the tail did not cover its vulva

• Failing to shear or provide shade to sheep in August 2019

• On 10 September 2019 caused unnecessary suffering to a sheep by failing to notice it was trapped or to release it from being trapped

Kevin Hill, prosecuting, told the court that Holley had gone on holiday and left a friend caring for 50 sheep at the smallholding, despite the friend having no previous experience of sheep husbandry.

This sheep had been trapped in fencing for at least 24 hours and once released was hungry and thirsty
This sheep had been trapped in fencing for at least 24 hours and once released was hungry and thirsty

Many of the sheep were emaciated yet had no supplementary feed, and the sheep had access to scrap and collapsed fencing. On a revisit, council officers found a sheep trapped in a fence; it had been trapped for at least 24 hours and once released was hungry and thirsty.

In January 2020 the sheep were not being fed hay and had strayed onto neighbouring land and roadside verges to forage. Holley had been cautioned for similar offences in 2018.

The magistrates gave credit for the early guilty plea and genuine remorse.

Sentencing: two-year conditional discharge; £5,000 costs. Banned from keeping farm animals for five years.

Falmouth Packet

Houghton-le-Spring, City of Sunderland: Anthony Bittlestone

#TheList Anthony Bittlestone, born 28/12/1970, of Lilywhite Terrace, Easington Lane, Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland DH5 – banned from keeping animals after his dog was found starving.

Dog abuser Anthony Bittlestone from Houghton le Spring

Jack Russell Riley was described as “emaciated” and weighed just 3kg when found, which was less than half of the recommended weight for his breed. His nails were overgrown and he was also shedding fur. The floor of the kitchen where he was kept was littered faeces.

His owner Anthony Bittlestone pleaded guilty to two offences of causing unnecessary suffering and failing to ensure the dog’s welfare.

RSPCA prosecutor Stewart Haywood told the court that an inspector first visited Bittlestone’s house on September 30, 2019, but was not allowed in. He did, however, see Riley and noticed that his hips, ribs and spine were clearly visible. Inspector Haywood gave Bittlestone advice on improving the dog’s body condition.

The RSPCA paid further visits to Bittlestone’s home in October 2019 but there was no answer at the door.

After receiving no contact from Bittlestone, the RSPCA gained access to the property and found Riley in a “shocking condition”.

Mr Haywood said: “Riley was extremely thin and very lethargic. The kitchen floor was littered with faeces and the smell was described as disgusting.”

The pet was taken to a vet and examined. Blood tests were also carried out.

“Riley had a weight of 3.09kg, an emaciated body condition,” said Mr Haywood. “A dog of that type should weigh about 7kg.

“The dog was shedding fur and its nails were too long. Blood test results showed that Riley had simply been starved.”

Neglected Jack Russell Riley before and after her recovery
Neglected Jack Russell Riley before and after her recovery

Jason Smith, representing Bittlestone, said this happened at a time when the defendant, who worked as a milkman, was experiencing difficulties.

His partner had left him and his father had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Bittlestone found himself struggling to look after his parents and the dog as well as keeping up with his work, it was said.

Mr Smith added: “While Riley was clearly underweight, there was actually no long-term deficit at all. There was no internal damage, no veterinary or medical condition to show that Riley will be adversely affected.

“Mr Bittlestone was feeding Riley. The reality is that Riley was clearly not getting the nutritional value from the food that has been given to him.”

Sentencing: 18-month community order, 25 days of rehabilitation activities and 150 hours of unpaid work; £490 in costs. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years.

ChronicleLive

Dundee: Justin Williams

#TheList Justin Williams, born 10/05/1995, of 7G Elders Court, Dundee DD2 3UJ but with links to Basildon, Essex – starved his dog and kept her in squalid conditions

Dog abuser Justin Williams from Dundee, Scotland
Justin Williams is free to have animals again in two years’ time

The Scottish SPCA discovered Staffy Keira in a “severely emaciated” condition and living in squalor at Williams’ flat. She weighed just 9.5kg, with little muscle mass and overgrown nails.

The court heard how the alarm was raised by neighbours who became concerned about the dog’s condition.

Fiscal depute Lynne Mannion told the court: “The employees of the SSPCA saw that the flat itself was in squalor. The hallway had bare floorboards and a dirty dog bowl.

“The dog was clearly emaciated. They asked the accused about the dog and he confirmed it had been losing its body condition.

“An examination found that the dog was severely emaciated and weighed 9.5kg which was half its original body weight.”

Staffy Keira was emaciated having been starved and neglected by Justin Williams
Staffy Keira was emaciated having been starved and neglected by Justin Williams

The court heard that Keira’s nails were overgrown due to a lack of exercise. There were no other abnormalities found during the examination with the SSPCA officers concluding that Keira’s issues were due to inadequate nutrition.

Keira was taken to the SSPCA’s local rescue centre where she recovered. She has since been rehomed.

Scottish SPCA inspector Alastair Adams said: “This was a case of serious neglect and Keira would not have survived for much longer had we not intervened.

“We welcome this sentence. Williams was not capable of meeting Keira’s most basic of needs.”

Sentencing: ordered to pay £250 and banned from keeping animals for just two years.

Evening Telegraph
The Courier