Tag Archives: County Durham

Ferryhill, Co Durham: Kieran Wynn, Andrew John Painter and Kevin Varty

#TheList Kevin Stuart Varty, born 20/04/1968, of 113 Brocket Close, Newton Aycliffe DL5 7NL, Andrew John Painter, born 30/08/1978, of 18 Westerton View, Coundon, Bishop Auckland DL14 8QS, and Kieran Lee Wynn, born 19/02/1993, of 14 Raby Terrace, Chilton, Ferryhill DL17 0JD – caused gross cruelty and tremendous suffering to a lurcher pup who’d been hit by a car

Kevin Varty, Kieran Wynn and Andrew Painter subjected a sweet lurcher named Maggie May to a horrific ordeal but the plucky little dog survived.
Co Durham’s Kevin Varty, Kieran Wynn and Andrew Painter subjected a sweet lurcher named Maggie May to a horrific ordeal but the plucky little dog survived.

The court heard that Maggie had been run over on a Saturday evening,  just hours after Wynn bought her. Claiming that he couldn’t afford vet treatment Wynn tied chopsticks to the dog’s broken leg with red lace and Sellotape.

Friends Varty and Painter visited Wynn’s home the following day and the wicked trio decided to kill her.

Varty first tried to “choke the dog out” but when she showed signs of life Painter stood on her, and pulled her back legs over her head, breaking her neck.

Painter then stabbed her repeatedly with a potato peeler and took her outside, believing she was dead, only for her to regain consciousness and wander off later that night. She was picked up by a passerby who took her to the RSPCA. During several weeks of treatment Maggie had to have a leg amputated but miraculously recovered and was rehomed.

Wynn pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to Maggie by failing to provide her with veterinary care following a road traffic accident.

Varty and Painter admitted causing unnecessary suffering by subjecting the dog to physical trauma resulting in a fractured neck. Painter also admitted causing unnecessary suffering by repeatedly stabbing her with a potato peeler.


Varty and Painter were both given 18 weeks in custody and lifetime bans from keeping animals. Wynn, of Rydal Road, Ferryhill, was given conditional bail and was due to be sentenced on August 22, 2011. The outcome of that sentence was never reported.

Northern Echo 02/08/2011

*All addresses correct as at September 2018,

In February 2015 Kieran Wynn, now 21 and a heroin addict, barged into a family’s home with a machete and made threats to kill.

Belmont, Durham: Vincent Grant

#TheList Vincent Dean Grant, born 17/12/1968, formerly of Frank Street, Durham and more recently (2019) of 2 Longleat Walk, Ingleby Barwick, Stockton-on-Tees TS17 5BW – kicked a Cavalier King Charles spaniel to death while wearing heavy Timberland boots

Evil Vincent Grant from Durham kicked a helpless Cavalier King Charles spaniel to death
Vincent Grant from Durham told lie after lie about the circumstances in which Tilly (pictured) died but eventually admitted he had kicked her repeatedly while wearing heavy boots. The little spaniel died from her injuries.

Vincent Grant was left alone in his home with the dog, named Tilly, for a matter of minutes, when her owner left to give a friend a lift.

When the owner returned, she heard the sound of yelping and was met with the devastating sight of her five-year-old dog cowering and limping.

Grant claimed the pet – known for being docile and friendly – had bitten him.

Tilly died that evening, with a post-mortem examination showing she had five broken ribs and a punctured lung

Evil Vincent Grant from Durham kicked a helpless Cavalier King Charles spaniel to death
Evil dog killer Vincent Grant from Durham

Father-of-two Grant first told police he had gone to stroke her to apologise for stepping on her paw by accident, but hit out with the back of his hand or fist out when she bit him.

When he was quizzed again, the plant driver admitted he kicked Tilly two or three times while wearing his Timberland boots, having earlier claimed he had slippers on.

Grant admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal by repeatedly kicking Tilly.

Tony Jackson, mitigating, said Grant had drunk four or five pints on the day of the incident.

Sentencing: 12-month community order with supervision, 200 hours of unpaid work, compensation of £1,483 and £85 court costs. Banned from keeping animals for just five years (expired April 2016).

Northern Echo

Darlington, County Durham: Paul Hinton

#TheList Paul Hinton, born 07/11/1975, as at 2018 of 17 Borough Road, Darlington DL1 1SG – killed a stray dog by taping up his muzzle then subjecting him to a violent beating

Paul Hinton from Darlington subjected a helpless mongrel to a prolonged violent attack
Hinton tied the dog’s muzzle shut and then proceeded to beat him to death

Hinton tied up the mongrel before subjecting him to a prolonged beating, during which he kicked him in the  head, spine, tail, leg and abdomen.  He also taped the dog’s muzzle shut.  The dog died of impaired breathing and a heart attack as a result of traumatic injury.

Despite the pre-meditated and sustained nature of  Hinton’s violent attack on the defenceless animal,  a charge of torture was withdrawn.

Hinton alleged that he bound the dog’s muzzle to protect his children, claiming that one of them had been bitten.

Speaking after the case, RSPCA inspector Garry Palmer said: “What this dog went through is the stuff of nightmares. Thinking about that has caused many a sleepless night for me.

“The premeditated nature of what happened here makes it one of the most shocking cases I have ever dealt with. It was horrific.”

10-week prison sentence. Life ban on keeping animals.

Northern Echo

Marc Ian Young from Ferryhill, Co Durham, and Paul Nigel Brown from Redcar, Teesside

#TheList Marc Ian Young, born 07/02/1980, from 9 Hawthorne Terrace, Ferryhill DL17 9AX and Paul Nigel Brown, born 27/04/1953, of 18 Lorton Road, Redcar TS10 4LY – kept dozens of diseased and injured dogs in appalling conditions on a farm.

Marc Ian Young of Ferryhill, who together with his boss Paul Nigel Brown, was convicted of cruelty to 144 dogs
Marc Ian Young of Ferryhill, who together with his boss Paul Nigel Brown, was convicted of cruelty to 144 dogs

Young and Brown were together convicted of 16 animal cruelty offences after 144  dogs were found mangy and unfed at  Bog Hall Farm, Mordon, near Sedgefield, County Durham.

Prosecutor John Ellwood told the court how an investigation by the RSPCA led to a raid on Brown’s Bog Hall Farm in the spring of 2008.

More than 144 cross-breeds, lurchers and terriers  were found living in cages, animal stables and even in the back of unused vehicles.

Dirt and faeces were compacted on floors, and the animals had what little sustenance they could get when dried food was thrown on top of this.

Seven dogs had infected wounds, 26 had dental problems and 13 dogs were close to death through emaciation.

All the animals had the parasites living in their fur.

Horrifyingly, dead dogs were being burned on a rubbish heap, and inspectors found the charred remains of one animal during a visit.

Brown would also apparently sell the dogs when he could for commercial gain and was seen as the leader of the enterprise, with Young in his pay.

Some 35 of the dogs had to be put down following the discovery.

In all, the case cost the RSPCA approximately £29,000 in veterinary bills, £14,000 in legal fees and an estimated £15,000 to investigate.

Brown pleaded guilty to charges of animal cruelty between February 27 and April 24, 2008.

His offences ranged from failing to provide sufficient food and veterinary care to a “catch-all” charge of failing to provide adequate care, said prosecutor John Ellwood.

Young had denied 11 of the animal welfare charges against him, which included:

  • Failing to give 102 dogs a wholesome diet;
  • Failing to provide necessary care for 144 dogs with flea and lice infestation;
  • Failing to give veterinary care to 26 dogs suffering from severe dental disease;
  • Failing to treat infected wounds on eight dogs;
  • Failing to obtain veterinary treatment for a dog with a fractured leg.

Young told the court he was overwhelmed with the workload and was following the orders of his boss, Paul Nigel Brown, who was the farm’s tenant at the time.

Finding Young guilty on all charges, Judge Simon Hickey said: “Mr Young admitted he knew it was wrong to throw food on the filthy floor of the pens. He knew he was failing to provide adequate care for the animals. He was embarrassed by the finding of excrement and smell of urine.

“This was prolonged neglect over a period of eight weeks. There must have been commercial motivation.

“You have to face up to the consequences of these animals suffering.”

He told Young: “I don’t accept the defence of only doing what you were told to do.”

Speaking after the hearing, RSPCA inspector Lucy Hoehne said: “We are happy with the sentences and happy they won’t be able to keep dogs for a number of years.”


Brown and Young were each sentenced to eight weeks in jail, suspended for 12-months. 

They were both ordered to carry out 100 hours of community service and pay £260 costs.

Brown was banned from keeping dogs for 10 years (expires December 2019). Young was banned from keeping dogs for five years (expired December 2014).

BBC News
Northern Echo

Hartlepool, County Durham: Daniel Winspear

#TheList Daniel ‘Winnie’ Winspear, born 18/11/1990, of 44 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 (expired March 2019).

Northern Echo

Seaham, County Durham: Dave Smith

#TheList Dave Smith, born c. 1949, of Adam and Eve Cottage, Northdene Avenue, Seaham SR7 7BH – killed thousands of ex-racing greyhounds with a bolt gun and buried them at his home

Dave Smith from Seaham is said to have killed thousands of former racing greyhounds with a bolt gun
Dave Smith from Seaham is said to have killed thousands of former racing greyhounds with a bolt gun. Despite this, he was never charged with animal cruelty.

The prosecution of Dave Smith was brought by the Environment Agency after police ruled that the ‘Seaham Slaughterer’ as he came to be known would not face criminal charges in relation to the destruction of the dogs.

Dave Smith from Seaham is said to have killed thousands of former racing greyhounds with a bolt gun. Photo shows Smith leading two greyhounds to their deaths.
Smith was photographed by a reporter leading two greyhounds to the kill zone. The dogs were later identified as two-year-olds Clash Nitro and Rent a Flyer, bred and raised in Ireland before being sold off.

It had been claimed that Smith had shot about 10,000 dogs, but magistrates were told the figure was nowhere near that. It was conceded that he had put down two dogs a week for two years at a cost of £10 a time.

Dave Smith from Seaham is said to have killed thousands of former racing greyhounds with a bolt gun. This photo shows Smith returning with the bodies of the same two dogs in a wheelbarrow
The shocking footage shows Smith returning moments later with the bodies of the same two dogs in a wheelbarrow

While Smith was questioned by police, it was confirmed the bolt gun used to kill the retired greyhounds was held legitimately.

There are unconfirmed reports that Smith also disposed of dogs for the police and local authority.

Enquiries by the RSPCA concluded that there was no indication animal cruelty laws had been broken.

A spokeswoman for the charity said if used properly a bolt gun was a humane method of killing dogs and there had been no evidence that Smith had killed the greyhounds inhumanely.

Following a six-month investigation, the Environment Agency prosecuted him under legislation used to restrict the dumping of waste.

Dave Smith from Seaham is said to have killed thousands of former racing greyhounds with a bolt gun

Smith admitted a single charge under the Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations that, on 12 July 2006 he disposed of waste – the bodies of deceased dogs – on land without a permit.

Greyhound protection group Greyhound Action (now defunct) held a protest outside the court and said it was disgraceful that the dog racing industry itself was not in the dock.

Sentencing: £2,000 fine for environmental breaches

BBC News

2019 update:
Dave Smith still runs a building supplies business Dave Smith Builders Merchants & DIY based in Lord Street, Seaham SR7 7JH. At the time of his prosecution, many local people came forward to support Smith, claiming that he was only meeting a demand from the greyhound industry.

In June 2019 a documentary on animal cruelty within the greyhound industry by Irish TV channel RTE entitled RTÉ Investigates: Greyhounds Running for Their Lives highlighted the Smith case and made the shocking discovery that many Irish knackeries, including Larry Earle Ltd of Camolin, Co Wexford, and John Styles & Son Ltd, will willingly provide a similar service today.

Peterlee, Co Durham: Maxine and Paul Askew

#TheList Maxine Askew, born c. 1971, and husband Paul Askew, born c. 1976, formerly of Briardale Way, Easington, County Durham, and as at March 2019 believed to be living at Dixon Rise, Horden, Peterlee SR8 4HX – failed to seek veterinary help for their emaciated, lice-ridden pony

Maxine Askew and her husband Paul failed to seek veterinary help for their lice-ridden pony
Vile Maxine and Paul Askew from Peterlee allowed their pony to become riddled with lice and failed to address his poor bodily condition.

Maxine and Paul Askew admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the male bay pony whom the RSPCA had discovered in a distressed condition at an allotment in Hackworth Road, Blackpool.

The yearling was examined by a vet and was found to be very thin. He was covered in live lice and eggs and had sustained large areas of hair loss.

The pony weighed only 101kg, but by August 2006, after being in the care of the RSPCA, he more than doubled his body weight to 233kg.

Paul and Maxine Askew from Peterlee
The Askews were banned from keeping horses for ten years.

When interviewed, Paul Askew said he had only had the colt for four to five months and he had been in the best of health “until it got these fleas”, which he said he treated with powder.

When questioned, Maxine Askew said her husband had been treating the fleas and she described the pony as a “fussy eater”.

Sentencing: total fines and costs of £875 each. Disqualified from keeping horses for ten years (expired January 2017).

Northern Echo