#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.”
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.
#TheList Norfolk puppy farmers Jacob Murphy, born 14/06/1992, his partner Zoe Rushmer, born 10/02/1993, both of Poppys Place, The Street, Norton Subcourse, Norwich NR14 6RR, and Zoe’s brother Michael Rushmer, born 09/10/1991 of Home Farm, Low Road, Norwich NR14 6PZ. Also Jean Boyes, born c. 1951, of Church Farm Barns, The Street, Norwich NR14 7DW
Greedy and callous puppy farmers Jacob Murphy, Michael Rushmer and Zoe Rushmer kept 74 dogs and puppies, many of whom were sick or dying, in cages, dark sheds and a caravan in temperatures up to 30C.
The gang made £300,000 from selling dogs they claimed had been bred in a family environment.
But some of the “sickly and diseased” puppies died within days or cost their owners thousands of pounds in vet bills.
The trio admitted conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.
Judge Andrew Shaw described it “as callous and mean-spirited a fraud as I have come across for some time”.
The RSPCA, which brought the case, said the animals were kept in “disgusting conditions” at Home Farm, Low Road, Thurlton. The charity removed 74 dogs, some of which were pregnant and had 20 puppies.
Some of the animals suffered from the potentially fatal parvovirus but were advertised as being healthy, socialised and treated for worms and fleas.
Dogs had an average price of £675 and the defendants made £300,000 from the fraud, though they claimed it was nearer £150,000, prosecutor Hazel Stevens said.
She described how when one of the premises was raided in 2017, dogs were found in cages, some in “pitch-dark sheds with no access to light” and others “in a caravan at temperatures of up to 30C”.
Mitigating, Andrew Oliver said Michael Rushmer was a cocaine user and “foolishly” bought dogs from travellers, which introduced parvovirus to the farm.
At sentencing, Judge Shaw described Murphy, who admitted three animal welfare offences, as the “ringleader”, while Michael Rushmer was “[Murphy’s] deputy if not his equal”.
The latter also admitted 10 animal welfare offences, offending while on bail, and operating a pet shop and breeding establishment without a licence.
Zoe Rushmer would meet buyers with her four children, now aged between four and 10, and was the “legitimate face” of the criminal enterprise run by her brother and her partner.
Rushmer was said to be remorseful and admitted four animal welfare offences.
Judge Shaw told her: “It’s only your children that have spared you from going to prison.”
Jean Boyes admitted the same fraud charge but only once took a litter of seven puppies to be inoculated and received a two-year conditional discharge.
Conspiracy charges against David Green, born 09/11/69 of Homebred Lane, Loddon, Norwich NR14 6UY , and Carole Rushmer, born c. 1960, and also of Home Farm Low Road, Thurlton, were dropped in February 2019.
Judge Shaw said the fraud, which began as early as 2015, “strikes at the very heart of this nation’s love for its pets, dogs in particular”.
“To sell sickly and diseased dogs, so poorly that many do not survive, is about as callous and mean-spirited a fraud as I have come across for some time,” he said.
After sentencing, RSPCA Inspector Amy Pellegrini described the farm as a “puppy factory”.
“Families thought they were buying puppies who had been bred and reared in loving family homes but in reality they had been bred in disgusting conditions with little regard for their health or welfare but simply how much money they would bring in.”
Sentencing: Jacob Murphy and Michael Rushmer were each jailed for 42 months, while Zoe Rushmer was given a two-year suspended sentence and 250 hours of unpaid work. They were all banned from keeping animals for life. Jean Boyes was given a two-year conditional discharge.
=== On Friday 28 June 2019 “remorseful” Zoe Rushmer was hauled back before the court after Judge Andrew Shaw became aware of disrespectful social media posts she had made about the case. In one post she was pictured wearing the balaclava she wore outside court while boasting that she would “wing it”. Another showed her gloating about her “freedom” after being given a suspended prison sentence
The judge expressed concern about the balaclava photo, saying it “indicates someone who’s hoping to get away with it”.
Sadly he decided not to increase her sentence, telling her: “”I’m not going to further your sentence but you need to understand that I came very close to doing so.”
#TheList Steven Charles Peachey, born c. 1989, and Emma Benson, born c. 1984, both of Common Road, Diss, Norfolk – left pony Princess to become emaciated and riddled with lice
Princess was kept in the back garden of a house lived in by her neglectful owners Emma Benson and Steven Peachey.
But after visits from the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare the garden was found to be unsuitable for the horse who became very thin and suffered from scabs and lice while being kept at the address.
Appearing at Norwich Magistrates’ Court the pair pleaded guilty to two offences under the Animal Welfare Act including causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.
Jonathan Eales, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, told the court the back garden where the horse was being kept was “completely muddy and entirely unsuitable”.
The court heard how, in 2017, the pair had twice been visited by Jonathan Jackson from World Horse Welfare who offered Benson and Peachey advice on how Princess should be cared for and arranged for a vet to visit.
Visiting the pair again in February 2018, Mr Jackson noted that by then “the horse was looking bad” and it was arranged for the RSPCA and Mr Jackson to return in March when, concerned that the horse was suffering, Princess was taken into the care of the RSPCA.
Mr Eales said: “A responsible owner should have recognised that this horse was suffering.”
Malcolm Plummer, mitigating, said Benson did ask for help to care for the horse and the case of Princess was one of “well intentioned but incompetent care”.
Adding that Benson suffered from serious mental health issues he said caring for Princess was “going some way in keeping her on the straight and narrow”.
Sentencing: Both Benson and Peachey were ordered to pay £500 in compensation to the RSPCA. They were banned from keeping horses for three years.
Jonathan Eales, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said a housekeeper was employed to look after the property and the fallow deer but he did not have money for animal feed.
He said the animal welfare charity visited the hall after it was contacted by walkers concerned at the condition of the deer.
Inspectors found the animals were emaciated, while their pen was bare of any grass and infested with molehills.
RSPCA workers began visiting to feed the animals, but three more died.
Mr Eales said post mortem examinations revealed the deer were severely underweight and emaciated.
He said: ‘These deer died as a result of neglect. They were malnourished, dehydrated, they were incapable of surviving in an enclosure where there was insufficient food and no shelter.’
Speaking after the hearing, a spokesman for the RSPCA recalled the state of the deer when they first arrived at the estate.
He said: ‘The deer were very skinny – you could clearly see their ribs and their hip bones were protruding.
‘We hoped to remove the animals but expert vets said they were too weak to be moved at that stage. Vets advised us to feed them and our officers, who had launched an investigation, visited them daily to monitor their condition.
‘Ongoing tests established that, in addition to underfeeding, there were problems with worms and poisonous ragwort in the field so the herd needed to be moved to new pastures before ragwort started to come through in spring.
‘The owners failed to move the herd so vets felt they needed to be taken into our care.’
The spokesperson added: ‘The deer have recovered well and are now living with a private deer keeper.
Sentencing: deprivation order to pass ownership of the surviving deer to the RSPCA. Banned from keeping deer for two years. No costs were awarded and no further penalties were ordered against the couple.
Nine members of a violent gang of travellers, who committed more than 200 burglaries in 11 months across multiple counties in the East of England region have been jailed for a total of 71 years.
Gang members would mask their faces using balaclavas and smash or force open doors or windows in broad daylight.
They would don forensic suits in a bid to outwit police and were so prolific that in one day in July 2017 they committed seven burglaries, eight the next, and a total of 50 for the whole month.
On one travellers’ site Cambridgeshire Constabulary found seven stolen Labrador puppies in the boot of a car as well as an arsenal of deadly weapons.
Nine of the gang pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary:
Charlie Albert Webb, 20, from Newton Flotman, Norfolk – jailed for five years.
John Eli Loveridge, 42, of Greenways, Carleton Rode, Norfolk – jailed for seven-and-a-half years.
John Stanley Loveridge, 23, of Greenways, Carleton Rode, Norfolk – jailed for six-and-a-half years.
Joseph Holmes, 21, of Schole Road, Willingham – jailed for four years.
Danny Stone-Parker, 28, of Braintree Road, Great Dunmow – jailed for six-and-a-half years.
Timothy Stone-Parker, 24, of Clay Way, Ely – jailed for six-and-a-half years.
Joe John Spencer Loveridge, 19, of Winchester Road, Sandy, Bedfordshire – jailed for four years.
Richard Oakley, 27, of Sandy Park, Beck Row, Suffolk – jailed for five years.
Johnny Oakley, 25, of Sandy Park, Beck Row, Suffolk – jailed for five-and-a-half years.
A tenth man, Simon Oakley, 45, of Alburgh Road, Hempnall, Norwich, was found guilty of conspiracy to burgle on 31 October following a trial. He was jailed for nine years.
Detective Inspector Craig Harrison, who led the investigation, said: “These sentences reflect the scale and impact of this gang’s offending.
“Every one of their crimes had a victim so the trauma and devastation caused in quite a short space of time was immense. They clearly had no care at all for the impact their offending was having on communities, particularly in south and east Cambridgeshire, which were particularly badly hit, and, indeed, across the region.”
The gang targeted homes in rural areas, where they could make easy getaways and stole high-performance vehicles to give themselves a better chance of out-running police.
Offences were committed across Cambridgeshire including Littleport, Wisbech, Fordham, Burwell, Prickwillow, Dullingham, Ely, Waterbeach, Soham, Abington, Cambridge, Chippenham, Little Shelford, Isleham, Sawston, Hardwick, Willingham, March, Histon, Swavesey, Longstanton, Little Downham, Stow cum Quay, Doddington, St Ives, Stretham, Chippenham, Balsham, Cottenham, Cheveley, Elsworth, Swaffham Bulbeck, Fulbourn, Newmarket, Teversham, Boxworth, Yaxley and Friday Bridge.
Two other men – James Pateman, 55, of no fixed abode, and his brother, Thomas Brown, 54, of Fen Road, Chesterton, Cambridge – were also found guilty of handling stolen goods on 31 October following a trial at Norwich Crown Court. The court heard the men were involved in the disposal of jewellery between 12 March and 7 November, 2017.
Pateman was jailed for three-and-a-half years and Brown eight years.
Simon Oakley, who owns Stratton Quick Fit, a garage and workshop at Elite Business Park, in Salamanca Road, Norwich, had previously admitted possession of a firearm without a certificate and handling stolen goods.
He provided false registration plates and directed others to commit crime. He helped to hide stolen vehicles and pass them off as legitimate.
#TheList Scott Michael Doak, born c. 1992, of 16 Freiston, King’s Lynn PE30 4RE – beat a mother dog and her puppies; left another to become extremely emaciated.
Backyard breeder Scott Michael Doak was sentenced for causing unnecessary suffering to a Staffordshire Bull Terrier type dog called Rocky by failing to adequately investigate the cause of his poor body condition, and failing to protect Rocky and four Staffy puppies from fleas and worms.
Doak also failed to provide a suitable environment that was clean, of a suitable size and free from hazards.
The RSPCA were first contacted about a male dog and puppies who were all being kept in unreasonable conditions at Doak’s ex-girlfriend’s property.
The dogs were found in the bathroom with lots of mess and a chewed up disposable razor. Staffy Rocky was also incredibly emaciated.
The RSPCA took the dogs into their care but then received a further call to say that Doak had been beating another Staffy called Lily, who was used for breeding, and her young puppies which were being kept at another address.
Doak was also sentenced for causing unnecessary suffering to Lily and her puppies Millie, Penny and Lizzie, after he kicked and threw them across the room.
Sentencing: 26 weeks’ imprisonment and a year supervision order; £116 victim surcharge. Disqualified from keeping all animals for 25 years.
Sentencing: 22 weeks jail, suspended for two years due to Fabb’s age and infirmity. Ordered to pay £12,731 in costs within a month. Disqualified from keeping and breeding animals until further notice .
#TheList Robert J Loombe, aged 46 at date of offence, of 66A New College Close, Great Yarmouth NR31 7DF – captured on camera dragging a 5wo puppy along the pavement when she was too tired to walk
Backyard breeder Loombe was caught on camera pulling the tiny dog named Fatsy on her lead as her stomach rubbed along the ground.
Eye-witness Jade Barker was so upset that she filmed Loombe as he walked past with his two other dogs in Gorleston near Great Yarmouth. She claimed that he reacted angrily and swore at passers-by who urged him to stop dragging along his pet.
Miss Barker later handed the distressing footage to police who tracked down heavily tattooed Loombe at his nearby home and charged him with cruelty.
Speaking to the Metro, Miss Barker said: ‘I saw him dragging this poor little puppy behind him. I said that he needed to pick the puppy up and he told me to fuck off.
‘So I just carried on walking and then saw him still dragging it across the road so its face collided with the high kerb.
‘I just thought it was disgusting so I stood at the side of the Co-op and filmed him for 11 seconds. I was so upset that I was crying my eyes out.
‘He must have been dragging it on the lead for more than 60 yards. It was the cruellest thing I had ever seen.
‘The puppy was shaking and grunting and obviously very distressed. You could see that it didn’t like it and was getting hurt.
‘Five other people came up to him, saying he needed to pick the dog up and he responded with a load of abuse.
‘He must have known he was doing something wrong, but he was shouting at people.
‘He even said that he that he had been pulling it along since he left his house. He said, “You have got to teach it. You have to be cruel to be kind”.
‘The puppy was so young that it should not even have been out of the house, let alone dragged along the ground.’
Miss Barker said she was outraged that Loombe had not been banned by magistrates from keeping any dogs. She said: ‘He had two other dogs with him and it turned out that the puppy came from a litter of seven which he had at his house.
‘His sentencing is a joke. He should have been banned from having any animal. How can any dog be safe with him?
‘I am disgusted with his penalty. The justice system has let him off really lightly. I was told that the police took all his other dogs away – but now it looks like he might get them back.’
Loombe responded to the case on Facebook in this post:
Sentence: £300 fine; deprivation order in relation to the puppy.
#TheList Jamie Blake of Thetford, Norfolk (currently at HMP Bedford) for microwaving a stray cat to death while high on crack cocaine.
Blake cooked the young male black cat for three minutes in his bedsit while he was in a drug-induced psychosis.
Blake had befriended the cat, which he nicknamed Buddy, by letting him into his room at night and feeding him cheese and tuna.
He claimed that he argued with Buddy because he had told him that his mother’s former partner, now dead, had been injecting her with heroin.
After killing the cat, he later laughed and joked about his death with fellow residents at the John Room House sheltered housing unit where he lived in Thetford, Norfolk.
Buddy’s body was later found discarded in a wheelie bin along with the defendant’s microwave.
Staff at the unit viewed CCTV footage which showed him picking the cat up by the scruff of his neck and taking him into his room.
The footage showed him later leaving his room with a carrier bag which appeared to have the cat in it and then disposing of the microwave the following day.
Cat hair and other ‘matter associated’ with the cat was found in the microwave.
A post mortem carried out on Buddy confirmed that he had been microwaved to death.
Sally Dale, mitigating for Blake, said her client had a personality disorder which had been exacerbated by the use of crack cocaine.
Sentence: 22 weeks in a young offenders’ institution, banned from keeping animals for life
In September 2015 Blake was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in jail for his part in the systematic torture of a man over two days over a drug debt. At the time of writing (7/7/18) he remains in custody at HMP Bedford.