#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
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.
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.
#TheList Perparim Tahiraj, born 21/09/1970, of 36 Williamson Drive, Helensburgh G84 87LH – failed to get veterinary treatment for his five horses and left them to fly-graze
Perparim Tahiraj, who is originally from Kosovo, told Scottish SPCA inspectors he would not feed or care for horses Al, Africa, Cinderella, Song, and Tia, but refused to sign them over
Tahiraj, who has previously been convicted of domestic violence let the horses roam on land he did not have permission to use. The muddy ground in Helensburgh was unsuitable for grazing, with no shelter from the elements, and the horses became emaciated.
For a year the horses were left to try to fend for themselves on land which was littered with broken fencing and poisonous rhododendron bushes.
Shockingly, on Christmas Eve 2018, Tahiraj announced to inspectors from the Scottish SPCA that he would not feed or care for his horses. But he also refused to hand them over into their care.
Tahiraj was found guilty under Section 24 of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 for failing to provide a suitable environment, adequate diet and protection from suffering, injury and disease.
He was banned from keeping horses for five years.
Further sentencing was deferred for six months, meaning if he stays out of trouble for that period of time, he will likely face no further punishment.
Following the sheriff’s verdict, it was disclosed that Tahiraj, who is unemployed, is already using some of his benefits to pay back outstanding fines.
He also claimed he was unable to work due to various alleged health complications, including depression, anxiety, and arthritis, which meant he would be unable to complete a community payback order of unpaid work.
Scottish SPCA inspector Gillian Dick said: “We are pleased Tahiraj has been handed a ban for this level of neglect.
“Tahiraj is well known to the Scottish SPCA, we have had countless dealings with him and removed animals from his care a number of times.
“We tried on several occasions to provide him with guidance and advice on how to care for his animals.
“Tahiraj did not have permission to graze his horses on the land and had effectively been fly grazing within the field and surrounding grass area since January 2018.
“On 24 December 2018 he stated he would no longer attend to his horses or provide feed for them.
“We then asked him to sign the horses over in to our care, which he refused to do. “When we attended horses we discovered them all to be underweight and in poor body condition.
“Four of the five horses were suffering from skin infections, which needed veterinary treatment.
“The field offered inadequate grazing for equine animals and conditions were muddy, with little appropriate shelter from adverse weather conditions.
“The horses were exposed to poisonous rhododendron bushes and discarded fencing material.
“In one corner of the field the fence was broken and taped up, which was not suitable to contain the horses from the nearby busy road. We welcome this sentence. Tahiraj was not capable of meeting the most basic of needs for the horses in his care.
“We hope this sentence makes Tahiraj consider his ability to look after any animal in the future.”
Sentencing: banned from keeping any equine animals for a period of five years.
#TheList Andrew William Beech, born 31/05/1986 of 64a Kingsfield Road, Biddulph ST8 6DR – subjected his pet dog to repeated violent attacks over several months, finally killing her
Neighbours of Andrew Beech had witnessed him screaming and swearing at his blue Staffordshire bull terrier, Millie, many times in the months leading up to her violent death on 19 August 2019.
One witness described seeing Beech throw Millie’s bed into the communal yard and yelling at her aggressively. He then kicked her hard, causing her to cry out. The witness tried to confront him but Beech disappeared inside his flat before she could do so.
On the evening of Millie’s death horrified neighbours heard Beech yelling “you shit all over the flat” followed by sounds of a dog in severe distress, crying and screaming.
On August 21, Beech wrote the following on Facebook: “my Millie moo died, completely shocked, RIP”.
Rumours emerged on social media that Beech had killed Millie and one local animal lover, Nicola, decided to go to his house to confront him. Beech told Nicola that Millie had died from natural causes and said he had buried her body in local woods. However, Nicola had noticed bloodstains on the walls of his hallway and was unconvinced by his lies. She went through his bins and was horrified to discover remnants of a blood-soaked dog bed.
Police were called but were reluctant to investigate so Nicola, determined to get justice for Millie, decided to take matters into her own hands.
She posted an appeal for information on Facebook and was soon contacted by someone who said they would show her where Beech had buried Millie’s body – actually in a small plot in the car park to the rear of his flat.
Nicola took a shovel and found Millie’s battered body in a cardboard box. She was wrapped in what remained of her dog bed.
The box contained a message that said “Millie, I’m going to miss you every day” with dog biscuits, and a deflated ball.
Nicola contacted the RSPCA who collected Millie’s remains and took her to a vet for examination. There it was discovered that she had died from a blunt trauma. She had several other traumatic injuries including a punctured liver and lung, a broken hip and internal bleeding. Almost every rib was broken.
Some injuries were older and had been inflicted on her months earlier, proving that this attack had not been a one-off.
The RSPCA prosecuted Beech but he denied the charges and continued to scream about his innocence to his friends and family and publicly on Facebook.
Faced with overwhelming evidence against him, however, Beech eventually pleaded guilty to two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal as well as harassing an ex-partner.
The court heard Beechhad lost his job at a builders’ merchant following the social media backlash in the wake of Millie’s death.
Beech’s lawyer, Peter Howland of Turnocks Defence Solicitors, told the court that his client became frustrated with Millie following a change in his working hours causing him to be away most of the day and that “he kicked her because of her behaviour”.
Speaking about the fatal attack Howland said that his client “kicked the dog a number of times and, as a result of that, it died within a matter of minutes. He was shocked and didn’t know what to do.”
Howland claimed that Beech had been in the Army and had served in Basra “which has had an effect on his mental health.”
This cut little ice with the judge who told Beech: “You could not cope with owning the dog but you made excuses – it would not have taken a genius to give the dog to the RSPCA.
“Instead you subjected the dog to cruelty on a regular basis. This was not a one-off – and then you kicked this dog to death.”
Sentencing: jailed for 24 weeks and banned indefinitely from keeping animals.
Lindi Meyer, prosecuting, said the defendant lived with Rocco and his partner Hilson. Both accepted responsibility for the pet.
The RSPCA and police went to the house on September 2, 2019, after reports of an injured dog. Initially the pair did not answer but Hilson let them in just as police were about to force entry.
The dog had obvious leg and head injuries, said the prosecutor.
Hilson said Rocco had hurt his leg trying to get over a gate almost a month before. She confirmed he had not seen a vet.
“There was a strong smell of ammonia and faeces on the floor,” added Ms Meyer.
A police officer said the injured state of the dog was ‘heartbreaking’ and he had never seen such a badly injured animal before.
Rocco had multiple cuts, dislocated femur, swelling, two large head wounds that were so severe vets were unable to examine his right eye, a fractured tooth, cheek, three fractured ribs, and a fracture to the right hock which was several weeks old and so severe the leg had to be amputated.
There were stains on the carpets which Hilson said Rocco had left after he injured his head trying to escape from his cage.
Dolling said the injury to Rocco’s leg happened about one and a half months before when he tried to jump over a door. Both denied mistreating him and Dolling said he didn’t take him for treatment because he thought the vet might think he had beaten him. He couldn’t explain the fracture to the dog’s eye and denied beating him. He said he thought the animal would die without vet attention.
Texts between the two revealed more of what really happened to the dog.
Hilson demanded to know what had happened to Rocco’s face. Dolling replied: “I just went mad on him earlier. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it. I’m f****d.”
Hilson said the dog was ‘only a baby’ and hadn’t done anything to deserve such treatment.
Dolling answered: “You know what I get. I get what you’re saying. I’m sorry, I’m a nasty c**t.”
Hilson said there was a history of domestic violence in the relationship. Dolling now accepted responsibility for what he had done.
Nobody was present at the time Dolling injured the dog and the court was not told what triggered his violence. A vet found the injuries had been sustained by blunt force trauma on at least two occasions. They would have caused considerable pain for Rocco for at least six weeks. The skull fracture was caused by being struck with a ‘heavy linear object’ not consistent with Dolling’s explanation about the door. Injuries to the ribs were caused by kicks, stamps, or throwing against an object, said the vet.
Ms Meyer said Dolling’s actions had been ‘deliberate, gratuitous and caused suffering and pain on a number of occasions’. There had been prolonged neglect over months and no vet treatment despite both being aware of the injuries.
The court was played a video of Rocco in the care of the RSPCA, running and chasing a ball. “He’s doing really well,” after learning to walk again, said the prosecutor.
Hilson has yet to sign him over to the RSPCA’s care and has stated she wants him back.
Ben Darby, defending, said Dolling accepted full responsibility for the injuries and was ‘tearful’ and sorry for what he had done. He wanted help for his anger management issues and was motivated to change.
“These are pretty horrendous offences,” said Mr Darby. But he said Dolling had held his hands up and admitted his crime, even though nobody saw him cause the injuries and for that he should be given credit.
Hilson, who did not cause injuries to Rocco, admits a lesser charge under the Animal Welfare Act. She will be sentenced at a later date.
Sentencing: suspended four-month jail sentence. He was told to do up to 10 days anger management with probation and 60 hours of unpaid work. He was banned from keeping all animals for life but can appeal after just five years.
Natasha Rose Hilson, born 10/08/1994, also of 24A Briseham Road, Brixham, Torbay, Devon TQ5 9NS, has been sentenced for failing to seek veterinary care for Rocco while he was suffering from his injuries.
She must carry out 10 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days and 240 hours’ unpaid work.
She was also disqualified from owning any animal for 15 years, with no application to lift this for five years, and must pay £200 costs.
Lahey had provided a foster home for the dog, after completing a charity’s home checks. But months later charity volunteers discovered Rex’s starved body in a black bag.
The chef told RSPCA investigators that he had not buried the rescue dog because he could not afford a spade.
North Staffordshire Justice Centre heard Lahey took Rex home on December 1, 2018. For the first few months, Lahey sent the charity regular updates, including photographs and videos of Rex’s progress. But the charity was later unable to contact the defendant and then received a call from a relative to collect Rex’s body on April 2, 2010.
Vets discovered that the rescue dog was emaciated – weighing just 12.35 kilograms. A post-mortem examination gave the cause of death as emaciation.
The vet’s report stated: “There is a strong possibility that he was left without food for a few days. During this time he would be hungry, potentially cold at night as he was confined to a shed, and possibly psychologically distressed as scratch marks were found in the shed along with soiling.”
Lahey told the RSPCA that Rex had struggled to put on weight and that he had left the dog with someone else when he went away for a few weeks last March. He said he returned to find Rex dead.
Following the case, RSPCA inspector Charlotte Melvin said: “It is horrendous to think of the suffering which poor Rex went through during the period leading up to his death.
“The vet’s report states he had been left in the shed for a number of days at least as scratch marks could be found near the door as Rex had desperately tried to get out.
“There is never an excuse not to feed a pet or seek veterinary treatment – if people are in need of help there are also plenty of animal charities that can help or in this case the animal rescue centre where Rex had come from would have taken him back.”
A spokesman for Pebbles Legacy, which placed Rex with Lahey, said: “We are so upset about what has happened to Rex and the suffering he must have endured. He was fostered by Lahey so he could have allowed us to take him back at any time if he was struggling but there was no indication of this at all.
“We carried out a number of home checks on Lahey which he passed and he sent us weekly updates, including videos and photographs, showing how well Rex was doing. There was even one of him looking so happy playing in the snow.
“We have no idea why this changed and it was awful to go the property and find a dog who we had cared for dead in such awful circumstances.
“It has been terribly upsetting for all our volunteers.”
Sentencing: ordered to pay a total of £850. Banned from keeping animals for life.
#TheList Ieuan Batten, born 23/10/1996, of Forest Avenue, Cefn Hengoed, near Ystrad Mynach CF82 – beat up his mother after she intervened to stop his savage attack on a dog
Prosecutor Leah Pollard told the court that 23-year-old Batten had a history of violence against his mother, with previous assault convictions recorded against him.
She said this latest attack happened just before Christmas 2019 when Batten came home “under the influence and in an aggressive mood”.
Judge Daniel Williams was told of how Batten’s mother and two women, one of whom was pregnant with his child, were in her house when he went “completely mad”.
After two dogs began fighting, he took one of them into the kitchen and repeatedly punched and kicked him.
Batten’s mother covered the animal to protect him before her son turned his attention to her.
Miss Pollard said: “He was in a complete rage. He grabbed her by the hair and dragged her into the living room.
“He started punching her and stamping on her all over her body.”
One of the women told police: “It lasted for about half an hour. I have never seen such violence in my life and I was shocked – especially when it was carried out by someone against their own mother.”
The victim was taken to hospital with her face “totally swollen and black and her body covered in bruises”.
Batten pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.
The court was told he had 20 previous convictions for 49 offences.
Nik Strobl, mitigating, said: “The defendant wishes to express his remorse and he can’t believe what he has done to his own mother.
“He has little recollection of what happened.”
Judge Williams told Batten, who was high on alcohol and drugs during the attack, that: “This was a savage assault. You used dreadful violence.”
Sentencing: jailed for two years and given a five-year restraining order preventing him from contacting his mother. He must pay a victim surcharge upon his release from custody. He was not banned from keeping animals.
#TheList alleged dog killer Klaudiusz Maria Grzesiak, born c. 1973, of Ballacannell Estate, Laxey, Isle of Man IM4 – walked free from court after the sole witness, his wife, refused to testify against him
The case against Polish national Klaudiusz Maria Grzesiak, who was accused of stranging a cocker spaniel named Milka to death, collapsed after his wife, Marta Adamczewska-Grzesiak, withdrew her evidence.
IOM Today previously reported that the dog had been found dead in a children’s shed in the garden of the family’s home in Ballacannell, Laxey on Tuesday November 19, 2019. The court heard she was wrapped in clear plastic and a black bag.
A post mortem examination carried out on Milka confirmed the cause of death was strangulation to the front of the neck.
They were also injuries consistent with trauma to the dog’s back.
Mrs Grzesiak had advertised the dog as missing on Facebook before her body was discovered.
Prosecutor Roger Kane told the court during an initial hearing that Mrs Grzesiak had received text messages about the dog following a verbal altercation with her husband the previous day.
Grzesiak had denied causing unnecessary suffering to the dog and damaging property. But just days before a pre-trial review hearing on Christmas Eve 2019, his wife retracted a statement she’d made to police.
Prosecution advocate Rebecca Cubbon said by law she was prevented from compelling Mrs Grzesiak to give evidence against her husband.
She said under the circumstances, all the prosecution could do was offer no evidence on both counts.
Mrs Hughes told Grzesiak no further action would be taken against him, and formally dismissed the charges.
She also said the prosecution wasn’t to blame for the trial’s collapse, and didn’t order defence costs to be paid.