Tag Archives: Newcastle upon Tyne

Whickham, Newcastle upon Tyne: David Cottrell

#TheList David Cottrell, born 09/10/1966 of 18 Sandringham Drive, Newcastle upon Tyne NE16 5ZA – caused prolonged suffering to pigs he kept in shocking conditions

Cottrell, former owner of pork and black pudding producer Medomsley Bangers, is banned from keeping pigs, sheep, poultry and horses for life.
Cottrell is now banned from keeping pigs, sheep, poultry and horses for life.

Cottrell, former owner of pork and black pudding supplier Medomsley Bangers was convicted of 31 animal welfare charges relating to animals on his site at Manor Road, Medomsley, County Durham, from March to October 2018.

They included charges of being a person responsible for farmed animals and failing to take steps to ensure they had the right conditions, and failing to comply with duty regulations 4, 5 and 7 of the Animal Welfare Act.

Catherine Hazell, prosecuting for the council, said animal health inspectors and a police officer had first visited the site at Manor Road on March 23, 2018.

They found a pen of 11 pigs living in deep slurry with no dry lying area and no water, alongside two pig carcasses.

Another pen containing one pig had no water. Piglets were crammed into a small pen with hardly any space and filthy drinking water.

Officers searched the fields and found horses with access to a large pile of debris and wood with nails and sharp pieces which could likely cause them injury, as well as sheep carcasses.

Cottrell was issued a notice to dispose of the animal by-products, but when officers returned weeks later there was still no dry lying area for 23 pigs, while sharp objects were still in the field with the horses.

During a further visit in October 2018 five underweight pigs were found with no feed available. Six adolescent pigs were crammed in a small pen and standing knee-deep in slurry with filthy water.

The council seized 44 pigs as well as piglets in November 2018. Some of the pigs have since had piglets. There were eventually about 150 pigs in total.

Cottrell only provided his consent to the council selling the pigs in June.

The upkeep of the pigs amounted to £27,765 offset by the sale of some

A probation report noted that Cottrell had decided to set up his own business sheep and pig farming more than three years after suffering serious injuries in a horse accident.

Cottrell told a probation officer that at the time of the incidents he was caring for his terminally ill mother and elderly father and it had got “too much for him”.

He added, a contractor providing him feed had also let him down.

Cottrell, who is selling the land, is now working as a private contractor providing security and as a takeaway driver.

Sentencing: 12-month community order with 300 hours of unpaid work with 15 probation activity days. He was ordered to pay £24,919, including costs of looking after the pigs and legal costs. Disqualified from owning or keeping pigs, sheep, poultry and horses for life.

Northern Echo

Byrness, Northumberland: Lynn Stoker

#TheList breeder/hoarder Lynn Stoker, born 04/07/1956, of Raw Farm House, Byrness Village, Newcastle upon Tyne NE19 1TR – jailed for cruelty to more than 100 dogs and puppies

Breeder/hoarder Lynn Stoker of Northumberland, UK, left 100 dogs to suffer in her squalid home
Breeder/hoarder Lynn Stoker left 100 dogs to suffer in her squalid home

Stoker was found guilty of 11 charges of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and four counts of failing to ensure an animal’s welfare needs were met. Her conviction came after 107 dogs and six puppies were found living in cramped cages and with no fresh drinking water.

She had denied all charges but was found guilty after a four-day trial.

Shocking and distressing footage released by the RSPCA shows dozens of dogs cramped and locked up in cages.

Stoker was breeding dogs but struggled to sell them on and ended up with a house full of animals. She initially asked for help re-homing the pets but began behaving ‘evasively’ and ‘aggressively’ so a search warrant was issued in May 2018.

The RSPCA told the court that “not a single dog was in a healthy condition” when they were discovered locked up in cramped cages at Stoker’s home in May 2018.

The animals were suffering from a range of untreated health problems including chronic dental disease, eye infections and hip injuries. Stoker also failed to provide them with sufficient water.

Breeder/hoarder Lynn Stoker of Northumberland, UK, left 100 dogs to suffer in her squalid home
Many of the dogs hadn’t had veterinary treatment in years in some cases and were at an advanced stage of suffering.

Three dogs had a level of dental disease so high it resulted in a fractured jaw, and one of them only had three teeth as all the rest had fallen out because of severe disease.

Some animals were in such a bad state they needed to be put down.

The dog breeder claimed that her pets were never neglected and she had been doing the job for 25 years.

Breeder/hoarder Lynn Stoker of Northumberland, UK, left 100 dogs to suffer in her squalid home

The pets at her home also included two cats and a tortoise.

Sentencing Stoker, district judge Bernard Begley said: “This is a particularly serious type of offence. Significant costs have been incurred.

“I really can’t find any redeeming features. This was a high level of suffering – some animals were euthanised.

“You have not shown a shred of remorse or contrition.”

Sentencing: jailed for 21 weeks; ordered to pay £50,000. Disqualified from keeping or breeding animals for at least 15 years.


Throckley, Newcastle: Mary Campbell and Ryan Gerry

#TheList Mary Agnes Campbell, born 15/06/1975, and Ryan Paul James Gerry, born 21/12/1997, both of 175 Hallow Drive, Throckley, Newcastle upon Tyne NE15 9PW – starved their two-year-old Border collie to death

Mary Campbell and son Ryan Gerry allowed their emaciated dog to starve to death. The court heard both had learning difficulties and mental health issues.
Mary Campbell and son Ryan Gerry allowed their emaciated dog to starve to death. The court heard both had learning difficulties and mental health issues.

Mother and son Mary Agnes Campbell and Ryan Paul James Gerry pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to Gerry’s dog Skye.
They accepted they had failed to properly look after the dog but the pair, who both have learning disabilities, maintained they had tried to feed her and seek veterinary care.

Campbell and Gerry had called RSPCA inspectors to their home in Throckley in January 2019, after the death of their pet because they “didn’t know what to do”.

RSPCA Inspector Smith arrived at the house, where he found Skye’s “emaciated” corpse.

Stuart Haywood, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said: “Skye was wrapped in a blanket which had a picture of a pug on it. When he unwrapped the blanket he saw Skye in an extremely emaciated state.”

He said the dog’s eyes were “sunken”, her bones were visible, and she had a pressure sore on her right hip.

He added: “He found carrying Skye to the vehicle extremely upsetting given how light her corpse was.”

Border collie Skye, who was starved to death by her owners
A post-mortem on Border collie Skye showed she had died from a lack of nutrition

When inspectors returned to examine the property, they found faecal stains on the floor of the kitchen where the pair said Skye had been kept.

They said they believed they had been trying to seek blood tests for Skye, and claimed they had been feeding her, but the PDSA veterinary practice where they said they had been seeking treatment said they had not seen the dog since 2017, although a number of appointments had been since made and then missed or cancelled.

A post-mortem examination carried out on the instructions of the RSPCA found her death was due to “insufficient nutrition”.

And a second examination commissioned by the defence found there could be an underlying cause which couldn’t be determined due to the state of the body, but agreed that a lack of nutrition was probably what had killed her.

Dog killers Ryan Gerry and Mary Campbell pictured outside court
Dog killers: the pair are pictured outside court for their initial hearing in July 2019

Defending both Campbell and Gerry, Ruth Foster said both suffered from learning difficulties as well as anxiety and depression which had affected their ability to offer proper care, which would lessen their culpability for her suffering.

She said: “This is not a very pleasant case for anyone involved. The whole case has brought them an awful lot of upset but more importantly what has upset them is the loss of their dog in the first place…They had tried to seek veterinary care for her but they perhaps didn’t follow through on it in the way that you or I would have.”

She said they both thought they had been giving Skye food, but that it was possible that each had thought the other was feeding her on some occasions.

She added: “Both defendants are more than happy to accept disqualification, that will not be contested. Both accept that in hindsight there were failings in their care for her.”

Sentencing (September 2019): both were given 12-week custodial sentences, suspended for a year, and ordered to pay a total of £315 in costs and charges. They are both banned from keeping animals for 10 years.


Benwell, Newcastle Upon Tyne: Lee Martin Boyle and Dawn Nixon

#TheList Lee Martin Boyle, born c. 1977, and partner Dawn Nixon, born c. 1980, both of 11 Pendower Way, Newcastle upon Tyne NE15 6SN – allowed their pet dog to become so malnourished he couldn’t stand

Lee Martin Boyle and partner Dawn Nixon, from Benwell, were found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to Staffordshire bull terrier/American bulldog cross Troy
Lee Martin Boyle and partner Dawn Nixon, from Benwell, were found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to Staffordshire bull terrier/American bulldog cross Troy

Lee Boyle was already banned from keeping animals for life following a conviction in 2006 alongside mother Alice Edgar and junkie brother David Boyle. That case involved the appalling neglect and starvation of a rottweiler named Bella, who had to be put to sleep due to her poor condition, and a crossbreed named Buster.

Lee Martin Boyle and partner Dawn Nixon, from Benwell, were found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to Staffordshire bull terrier/American bulldog cross Troy

This time Boyle was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a Staffordshire bull terrier/American bulldog cross known as Troy along with his partner Dawn Nixon.

The RSPCA was called in to investigate after a witness spotted Troy looking so skeletal he was described as a “dead dog walking”.

The dog was emaciated and suffering from such bad malnutrition he was trembling and unable to stand, the court heard. He had wounds on his front paws, hip bones and on the back of his legs which were red raw and bleeding when he was found.

Boyle told RSPCA Inspector Kirsty Keogh-Laws Troy had not seen a vet for two years.

And after examining the evidence collected by the RSPCA, vets concluded that Troy had been suffering from malnutrition and emaciation for more than five weeks.

Dog abuser Dawn Nixon from Newcastle upon Tyne
Dawn Nixon

The case against them had been proved in their absence after they failed to attend an earlier hearing.

In mitigation the court heard Boyle had been forced to leave the family home and Troy’s condition had arisen whilst not in his care. Nixon stated she could not look after Troy to the extent she would have liked to due to work commitments.

Sentencing the pair, District Judge Begley called it an “appalling case of cruelty”.

Lee Martin Boyle and partner Dawn Nixon, from Benwell, were found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to Staffordshire bull terrier/American bulldog cross Troy
Serial dog abuser Lee Boyle

Inspector Keogh-Laws said: “It was heartbreaking to see the photos of Troy in such an awful condition when he was found. There is no excuse to allow an animal to get into such an appalling condition and not seek help.

“There is always help available for those people who need it and we encourage people to seek out this help to prevent animals suffering.

“Owning an animal is a privilege – but this couple’s failure to address the causes of Troy’s poor bodily condition meant that was clearly not appreciated in this case.”

Boyle – 24-week jail sentence, total of £225 costs and charges. New disqualification for life from keeping animals.

Nixon – 18-month community order including 200 hours of unpaid work; total of £285 costs and charges. Disqualified from keeping animals for life.


Benwell, Newcastle upon Tyne: Natalie Dendri

#TheList Natalie Dendri, aged 39, of Colston Street, Benwell, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 – threw a pet ferret named Posh Spice into the air and repeatedly punched her

Natalie Dendry from Newcastle threw pet ferret named Posh Spice into the air and repeatedly punched her

Dendri was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to the animal and being drunk and disorderly after the incident in May 2018.

She was seen throwing the animal into the air and repeatedly punching her. The ferret tried to escape but Dendri caught her and attacked her again.

The details were revealed at a trial at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court after Dendri was charged with two offences – causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and being drunk and disorderly.

She denied both charges but failed to attend court and the trial went ahead in her absence.

Prosecutor Stephen Davies said the offences took place just before 2pm on May 31.

It was said a driver who was travelling along Armstrong Road saw a woman at the side of road with a furry object. She then threw it in the air and started punching it “really severely”.

Natalie Dendry from Newcastle threw pet ferret named Posh Spice into the air and repeatedly punched her

The animal squirmed away but Dendri grabbed her and punched her again with a clenched fist, the court heard.

The police were called and PC Lewis Calboutin attended the scene.

The officer told the court : “I was asked to attend in relation to an intoxicated female who may have a pet that she was treating badly.

“I saw a female sitting on the grass verge on the side of Armstrong Road.

“She immediately appeared to me to be intoxicated. She had a ferret called Posh Spice. It was lying in the sun and it appeared dehydrated. It was hot, it was panting and seemed lethargic.”

Dendri was asked to get into a police vehicle so she could be taken home to attend to the animal’s welfare.

In the vehicle, she was shouting and swearing and, as they reached her address, she vomited in the van.

“We asked her to step out of the vehicle,” said PC Calboutin. “She started shouting and swearing at me and my colleague.

“She then dropped her ferret from a standard height to the floor.”

Dendri was arrested and the ferret was taken to a vet. The animal later recovered and was placed in a shelter.

On being interviewed, the defendant denied being drunk or that she ill treated the ferret. She pleaded not guilty to the offences at an earlier hearing.

However magistrates found her guilty of both charges on the day of the trial.

It was also revealed that Dendri had previously admitted to an offence of assaulting an officer at a police station after she was arrested on May 31, 2018.

North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard that Dendri had kept ferrets for a number of years but after Posh Spice was removed she no longer had any pets.

Janice Hall, defending, said that Dendry was previously sectioned as a result of her ill mental health and now has carers.

Ms Hall said: “They ensure that she is taking her medication. They also help with her money and provide her with general assistance.

“She struggles looking after herself, she’s not in a position to give appropriate care for an animal.”

District Judge Kate Meek said: “You caused unnecessary suffering to a ferret whether you meant to or not. More to the point you carried on  doing so.

“I accept there are a range of issues and a custodial sentence would simply delay that work being undertaken.”

She added: “Ms Dendri this is really your last chance. Let’s hope it works.”

Sentencing (02/11/18)
12-month community order to work with probation on her drug and alcohol issues; fined £50 and ordered to pay £250 costs.  Unlimited ban on keeping animals which lasts for at least two years, after which Dendri would need to apply to a court to  have the ban lifted. 


Denton Burn, Newcastle upon Tyne: Richard Curtis and Claire Fradgley

#TheList Richard Curtis and Claire Fradgley, both aged 36, of Loweswater Road, Denton Burn, Newcastle upon Tyne NE5 2SN – starved a boa constrictor snake to death

Claire Fradgley and Richard Curtis from Newcastle starved a boa constrictor to death
An RSPCA inspector found the dead snake in a cold tank at the rented home of Richard Curtis and Claire Fradgley.

A post-mortem revealed starvation was the only possible cause of death.

Speaking about the case RSPCA inspector Kirsty Keogh-Laws said: “Curtis and Fradgley admitted that they knew the snake was thin but they didn’t do anything about it.”

“This snake suffered and died as a result.”

The couple initially denied any wrongdoing, despite the charity claiming they had caused the reptile to suffer needlessly for more than two months last winter.

But just before their trial at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court was due to start, they both entered guilty pleas to four charges.

The pair admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the animal, along with failing to ensure the snake’s welfare.

They were caught when the landlord of their old Newburn Road property in Newcastle found the unnamed snake.

The attending RSPCA officer discovered the vivarium in which the snake was found didn’t even have a heat lamp.

Magistrates have now banned the pair, who are parents to three boys, from keeping reptiles again.

Curtis: a total of £865 fines and costs
Fradgley: a total of £700 fines and costs
Both banned for life from keeping reptiles


Lemington, Newcastle upon Tyne: Sue McVay

#TheList hobby breeder Sue McVay, aged 58, of Beanley Avenue, Newcastle upon Tyne NE15 8SP –  neglected multiple cats and guinea pigs and kept them in squalor

Convicted animal abuser Sue McVay from Newcastle upon Tyne
Hobby breeder Sue McVay is banned from keeping animals after starving cats and guinea pigs were found living at her Newcastle home in filthy conditions.

McVay was found guilty of causing suffering to animals after failing to attend court in a case brought by the RSPCA.

An RSPCA inspector visited McVay’s address on 3 April 2017 after a report from a concerned member of the public. The inspector recalled being met with a horrible smell as she entered the property. Floors were covered in animal faeces and rubbish The inspector discovered six cats  all of whom were underweight and covered in faeces. One of them had an untreated burst abscess.

The inspector then discovered 12 neglected guinea pigs living in filthy cages.

The animals were taken to the vet to be examined during which two of the cats were found to be suffering. One named Ruby appeared to have conjunctivitis as well as an ear disease while another named Saki was underweight and suffering from oral diseases.

The animals are currently recovering in foster homes.

Sentence: total of £630 costs and fines and an unspecified ban on keeping animals. 

The Chronicle

Walker, Newcastle upon Tyne: David Rourke

#TheList David Rourke, born 04/12/1958, of 6 Farne Terrace, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 4BS – hit shih tsu Charlie over the head with a hammer and set fire to his body

Dog killer David Rourke from Walker in Newcastle upon Tyne

The body of three-year-old Charlie was found in woods behind Mead Walk in Walker, Newcastle, in March 2017.

At a trial in November 2017, Charlie’s owner David Rourke was found guilty in his absence of failing to meet the needs of his dog by failing to meet his need to be euthanised in an appropriate and humane manner.

SCENE: Charlie was found dead in a bag that had been set on fire
Crime scene: Charlie was found dead in a bag that had been set on fire

He appeared before Newcastle Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 21/3/18  after being arrested on a warrant.

RSPCA Inspector Cathy Maddison said: “Poor Charlie was discovered when firefighters were called to extinguish a fire in the woods.

“He was inside a bin bag which had been set alight, presumably by a blow torch which was also found at the scene.”

Post mortem results found that Charlie died from a severe skull fracture as a result of blunt force trauma to the head, before being set alight.

It could not be determined whether he was struck once with immense force or several times in the same location.

Rourke gave no comment when interviewed and pleaded not guilty at the first hearing.

When he did not show up to court for the trial the case was heard without him and he was convicted.

In mitigation, the court heard that Rourke accepted hitting Charlie once with a hammer with the intention of killing him without causing unnecessary suffering.

He told officers he could no longer look after him.

He had tried rehoming him with family but it had not worked out, and he did not know what to do with him.

He had not attended the trial as he was working away.

Insp Maddison said: “Everyone involved in this case has found it upsetting to work on. I’d like to thank them all.

“We’ve been in the dark all the way through the investigation about what actually happened to Charlie and why as Rourke refused to give us any information.

“Whatever possesses someone to think this is an appropriate way to end a dog’s life is going to remain a mystery to me.”

12-month community order; 120 hours of unpaid work; £750 costs. Disqualified from keeping animals for ten years. 

Northern Echo

Killingworth, Newcastle upon Tyne: Claire Shears

#TheList Claire Shears, born 04/06/1980, of Angus Close, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE12 6QR – let her bichon frise’s fur get so matted he struggled to see or hear

Image of dog abuser Claire Shears from Newcastle upon Tyne
Claire Shears allowed her pet dog’s fur to become so matted it was causing him to suffer.

Claire Shears’ dog, Basil, had gone ungroomed for so long he couldn’t even walk around because all the matted fur had wrapped around his feet.

Basil’s left eye – which was totally covered by matted clumps – was red and sore. The fur was matted so tight it meant the dog’s eye was touching his ear and mouth.

Basil, a bichon frise, had been ungroomed for so long he was struggling to walk as the matting had created ‘boots’ around his feet, and his left eye was red and sore where it had matted tight to his ear and mouth.

Shears admitted causing unnecessary suffering to Basil by failing to ensure he was properly groomed between March 11 and May 11, 2017.

Image of dog abuser Claire Shears from Newcastle upon Tyne

RSPCA inspector Helen Bestwick said: ‘It took over two hours to dematt Basil.

‘He was in a terrible state. His eye was matted to his ear and nose and was pulling tight and he looked like he was wearing boots his feet were so matted.

‘Afterwards he was running around like a pup, he was obviously very happy to be free of the matting which was causing him to suffer.

‘Luckily, the skin underneath wasn’t too bad and once he had been groomed he was feeling much better.’

The RSPCA first visited Shears’ home in October 2018, but had to return almost 20 times before they finally got to see the dog. Officers removed Basil from her home in May 2010.

Tragically, the dog had to be put to sleep in July after contracting an aggressive throat tumour unrelated to the case.

‘It was really upsetting for everyone, he wasn’t eating well and was booked in for a dental.

‘When the vet went to put the tube down his throat they discovered the tumour.

‘A biopsy found it was aggressive and was going to cause him a great deal of suffering.’

Sentencing: 12-month community order with 15 rehabilitation days; ordered to pay £285. Banned from keeping dogs for 10 years.


West Denton, Newcastle Upon Tyne: Bruce Elliott

#TheList Bruce Jon Elliott, born 24/11/1984, formerly of Lordenshaw, Newcastle upon Tyne NE5 and more recently 20 Gloucester Court, Newcastle upon Tyne NE3 2XJ – killed his pregnant girlfriend’s dog after ‘losing his temper’

 Bruce Elliot who was jailed for 19 weeks after killing his girlfriend's dog and harassing his new girlfriend
Bruce Elliot who was jailed for 19 weeks after killing his girlfriend’s dog and harassing his new girlfriend

Bruce Elliott kicked the eight-year-old Jack Russell cross, known as Smudge, before leaving her to die.

The incident happened at Elliott’s home on 26 October 2016, when his then girlfriend was not there.

RSPCA inspector Helen Bestwick said: “He told the court that Smudge wasn’t allowed upstairs but had gone up there and urinated on the bed. He said he chased her downstairs and a mountain bike, which was at the bottom of them, fell on top of her, then he kicked her outside.

“We’ll never know exactly what happened but when Smudge was found by a neighbour around 300 metres away on a patch of grass between the local social club and supermarket she was collapsed.

“Recognising her as sometimes being walked by Elliot, he was alerted to her plight and took her back to his home. When the neighbour enquired as to how she was and discovered she hadn’t been taken to a vets we were called.

“We believe the incident happened at around 6.15pm but unfortunately it was 8.30pm by the time we got the call about Smudge, who Elliot had allowed to suffer all that time. When I got there Elliot was aggressive so police had to be called.

“Sadly, Smudge died in the back of my van on the way to the vets. It was awful. A post mortem revealed she had died of internal bleeding. She had a ruptured liver with multiple lacerations, a hemorrhage near her right kidney and bruising between her shoulder blades.”

Smudge was kicked to death by violent and controlling Bruce Jon Elliott from Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Victim Smudge

Elliott pleaded guilty to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal – one count for kicking the dog and another for preventing the dog from getting treatment – and was sentenced to 15 weeks’ prison for the animal cruelty offences.

He also admitted harassing his new girlfriend, Paris Dixon, and was given a four-week jail term for that offence.

Bruce Elliot who was jailed for 19 weeks after killing his girlfriend's dog and harassing his new girlfriend

Elliott met Ms Dixon after his previous girlfriend, Smudge’s owner Franchesca Jones, left him following his cowardly attack on her pet.

Prosecutor Paul Anderson said they met in December 2016 and at first the relationship seemed “too good to be true”.

He said: “Unfortunately she was right and the defendant became controlling and violent during the course of their relationship.”

The court heard Elliott manipulated Ms Dixon into thinking she was mentally ill, so much so that she even went to her doctor looking for help.

“He would call me a tramp and take the mickey out of my lisp,” she said in a statement read out in court. “I am scared to see him if I go out and I am scared to let my dog outside.”

After they broke up, Elliott harassed her with 300 messages in one day

In court father-of-two Elliott complained that he would lose his business and his house as the details emerged in court, but was sent to prison.

Mitigating for Elliott, Sara Clasper said: “He lost his temper, it was a momentary reaction. He is very remorseful.”

Sentencing: jailed for 15 weeks for animal cruelty with a further four weeks for harassment. Disqualified from keeping animals for 20 years with right of appeal after ten years.

Dog Magazine

Additional information: in July 2019 Bruce Elliott started a company called BE Engineering Consultants Ltd. The company is registered in Scotland and the Companies House entry gives Elliott’s nationality as Scottish.

Elliott’s LinkedIn profile