#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.
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.
The owner was alerted to the crime after hearing gunshots and then spotting Price loading something into the back of his van.
North Staffordshire Justice Centre heard police later found the 22-year-old with eight dead pheasants in his vehicle.
Prosecutor Sue Hayers said: “The injured party was at home at 9pm on January 14 when he heard what he thought sounded like silenced rifle shots. He saw a light shine in the trees and formed the opinion someone was outside.
“He saw a van parked up the road and saw someone throw something into the rear of the van. The person was holding a rifle. The vehicle pulled away.
“Police later located the van and the defendant. They recovered an air rifle, pellets and eight pheasants from the vehicle.”
When he was arrested, Price claimed he did not know the Whitmore land was private and said he intended to eat the birds.
The court heard the landowner, the Cavanagh-Mainwairing family, rears pheasants to be used in licensed shoots held on the estate, and the theft left them £320 out of pocket.
Price pleaded guilty to theft and a charge of trespassing at night with an air rifle to destroy game.
The offences put him in breach of a conditional discharge he received for another theft, when he was collecting scrap metal and took property that the owner had not agreed he could have.
Mohammed Fiaz, mitigating, said: “He has written a letter of apology for his behaviour. The reason Mr Price took the pheasants was for his own consumption. He wasn’t going to sell them on. He purchased the rifle legitimately.
“He was working as a labourer but unfortunately he lost that job a couple of weeks ago.”
Sentencing: 12-month community order with 80 hours of unpaid work; ordered to pay £320 to the victim. He must also pay a £120 fine for breaching the conditional discharge.
Evans and Roberts were found guilty of theft after a trial. The pair had denied stealing Bruce, a black French bulldog belonging to Catrin Tudor, at Pwllheli in August 2019. Both maintained their innocence and showed no remorse, said a probation officer.
Diane Williams, prosecuting, said Bruce was in the garden of his owner’s home in Pwllheli at about 2.30pm on August 25, 2019. She was in the house with the front door open and Bruce was running in and out. The court heard that she found the garden gate slightly open and said Bruce could not have opened it.
Realising the dog was missing, she began a search and later reported the matter to police.
Family members posted messages about the dog’s disappearance on social media and there were sightings of Bruce in the company of two men and a woman in the street and on a beach. The following morning, Roberts was seen waiting for a bus with the dog and was arrested in Porthmadog .
Evans was arrested at his brother’s home the same morning.
A police officer said the two-year-old dog, who was valued at £1,500, was in a distressed state and very thirsty.
When Ms Tudor arrived at the police station, Bruce’s demeanour changed completely and he greeted her excitedly, said Ms Williams.
During the trial, Evans said he had been for a walk in the Abersoch area with Roberts and his brother Ben.
Passing Ms Tudor’s house, they had seen a dog which began following them, he said.
Evans said he had ignored the dog at first but had asked an elderly couple if they knew who owned him.
He said they had also knocked on several doors in the area but got no reply. They had taken the dog with them to his brother’s flat and later went to the beach with the animal, he said.
Ben Evans told the court he had recognised the animal and told the others who owned it and to return it.
Both Evans and Roberts denied intending to sell the dog for £1,000
Sentencing Evans – 26-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months; 180 hours of unpaid work; ordered to pay Bruce’s owner £50 compensation and £712 costs; 35-day probation service course. The court heard the offence took place just days after Evans was made the subject of a community order.
Roberts – 12-month community order; 150 hours of unpaid work; 10-day rehabilitation activity requirement. Ordered to pay £50 compensation and £680 costs.
#TheList Adrianne Susan Peltz (now Thompson), born 22/10/1984, of 3 Beatrice Road, Bangor, County Down BT20 5DG – defrauded the Dogs Trust of nearly £5,500
Peltz pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of her position involving £5,393.22 at the Dogs Trust in a “breach of trust”.
The 35-year-old, who is originally from South Africa, admitted using a Dogs Trust credit card for personal expenditures.
Peltz had been employed as the Dogs Trust’s campaigns manager for Northern Ireland and had a charity credit card for use in the day to day running of her office.
However, upon the termination of her contract, “numerous requests for receipts” to be produced by Peltz were not forthcoming.
It emerged that on dates between April and October 2017 a number of items totalling £5,392.22 could not be explained as “legitimate company business”.
Defence barrister Stephen Law said it was accepted that all money given to a charity is important and for anyone to misuse it would be “particularly mean-spirited”. He said Peltz had been going through a “particularly difficult time” when the offending happened.
Mr Law said she was “under considerable pressure at work” and was also “trying to juggle her caring and loving role as a mother” and was also a carer for her own mum.
In the evenings when “under stress” Peltz had “strayed beyond” what the credit card was intended for and made a number of “online” purchases.
Mr Law said it “really has been a classic fall from grace” for Peltz, who had been industrious and occupied a number of important public roles which had now “all come crashing down”, and with it she had lost her reputation.
Following the guilty plea he said the defendant resigned from a number of groups but he said a “glimmer of hope” was that she recently married and her husband was with her in court.
Mr Law said the defendant was unemployed and was not claiming any benefits but “living on the goodwill” of her husband.
The defence barrister said there was no question that Peltz felt ashamed for her “inexcusable” actions and she may have to move from her current address because she has been “shunned” by the community.
He said although every pound given to a charity is important, the Dogs Trust was a UK-wide organisation and the loss of £5,000 may not have a “significant impact” on them.
Mr Law said it had been a “life-changing experience” for Peltz who is going to “pick herself up, get a job and pay this money back”.
District Judge Nigel Broderick said the offending was “mean-spirited” which involved a “breach of trust” with a charity to which the public had given money in good faith.
He said he read a Victim Impact Statement from the Dogs Trust and the incident had a “traumatic effect” on staff.
The judge said he took into account a guilty plea and said it was not without significance that Peltz lost her job and other employment and there had been an “element of public shame which is attached to such a high profile loss of face”.
He handed down a six-month jail term, suspended for two years, and ordered the defendant to pay back the amount of money involved.
Outside the court the defendant replied “no comment, thank you” as she passed reporters.
Following the sentencing hearing, a Dogs Trust spokesperson said: “We rely on the enormous generosity of the public to help us care for over 15,000 dogs every year and we do all we can to ensure funds are used wisely.
“This was a rare situation for us and we took appropriate steps at the time to recover the funds where we could, but what’s important is that following today’s hearing more of the money will be returned to us and put back into the vital work that we do.
“We would like to thank the police for their prompt assistance in this matter. We respect the decision of the court and are pleased to draw this issue to a close.”
Sentencing: six months in jail suspended for two years. Ordered to repay the money she stole from the animal charity.
#TheList Andrew Alexander, born 26/07/1984, originally from Dundee and as at September 2019 of Malvern Drive, Ilford, London IG3 9DR – stole a pug named Pixie who is believed to have died
Eleven-month-old pug Pixie went missing on July 16, 2018 from a flat in Stobswell, Dundee, while in the care of Andrew Alexander.
Following her disappearance, eye-witnesses reported seeing a dog matching Pixie’s description being hit in the face at Baxter Park and then being carried lifeless by a man through the streets of Dundee towards a bridge over the River Tay.
Now construction worker Andrew Alexander has been fined £250 after being convicted of stealing the dog. As there was no admissible evidence that he had killed or mistreated the animal, he faced no charges in relation to this.
To date, it is not known what exactly happened to Pixie but it is believed that Alexander dumped her broken body in the River Tay.
Alexander was represented in court by dodgy lawyer Ian James Houston of Bruce Short Solicitors, Rattray Street, Dundee. Houston tried to get his client off with the theft charge on the grounds that the “property”, i.e. a much-loved family pet, no longer existed because she was dead. Houston insisted on proving to the court that the dog had died by showing the CCTV footage of Alexander carrying Pixie’s body through the streets despite the anguish of the dog’s distraught owner, who was present in court. How do these people sleep at night?
==== Background: We originally published this article in August 2018 but had to withhold certain details at the time, so as not to jeopardise the prosecution case against Andrew Alexander. This is an edited version of that article. to reflect the latest developments.
Sometime after 3pm on Monday 16 July 2018 an 11-month-old pug named Pixie went missing from an address in Park Avenue, Baxter Park, Dundee. Pixie’s owner, Kelly, had gone out to do some shopping, leaving the tiny dog alone in the company of her flatmate, Andrew Alexander. Kelly had known this man for several years and he had given her no reason to distrust him.
When Kelly left, Pixie was sleeping and she told Alexander not to take her out. She was alarmed on her return a short while later, therefore, to find the flat empty and Pixie gone. As time passed with no word from Alexander, Kelly became increasingly anxious. As she didn’t have Alexander’s new mobile number she asked a friend to call him. The friend spoke briefly with Alexander who was described as angry, screaming down the phone that he would “speak to Kelly later”.
In a state of panic Kelly rushed over to the nearby park and asked dog walkers if they’d seen Alexander or Pixie but no one had. She returned to the flat and waited anxiously.
When Alexander finally returned home at 7:30 pm he was alone and there was no sign of Pixie. When Kelly asked him where the dog was, Alexander shouted “lost!” in a manner that was more irritated than concerned. He said that Pixie had run off in Baxter Park at 4pm and he’d been unable to find her. He then told Kelly, somewhat bizarrely, that he was “away to jail” but didn’t elaborate on what he meant and left in a taxi to go to a girlfriend’s house.
Kelly texted Alexander the following morning to tell him he was no longer welcome at the flat. His response: “I’ve already moved out lol”
Alexander returned two days later while Kelly was out to collect his things and left for good.
In the following days Kelly posted a number of desperate appeals on Facebook. Her posts were shared extensively in the local area, the charity DogLost got involved, and multiple reports of sightings from pedestrians and motorists started to come in. The news wasn’t encouraging, however, with witnesses reporting seeing a man resembling Alexander carrying a pug-type dog that appeared to be lifeless.
One pedestrian recalled seeing the man holding a dog in his arms.
She said: “The dog was very still and I thought that was strange as a dog wouldn’t usually allow itself to be held like that without moving at all.
“He avoided passing close to me on his way towards the city centre – probably because I watching him. It was very clearly a pug and in retrospect, it seemed utterly lifeless.
“The man appeared red and flustered. I wish I had stopped him and asked if the dog was okay.”
Another witness – a young girl – said she had seen a man in Baxter Park pick up a pug by the neck and punch her in the face. The girl had been too afraid to challenge him.
These sightings took place as late as 7pm on the evening of Monday 16 July 2018 – three hours after Alexander said that Pixie had disappeared.
“There have been numerous sightings of what appeared to be a man carrying a small dog resembling Pixie in the Stobswell and Waterfront areas in the following few hours.
“The dog appeared to be lifeless or ill, and the man was described as in his mid 30s-40, tall, large build, and wearing a red t-shirt and blue shorts, possibly with stripes down the side.
“He was last seen shortly before 6pm near the bottom of Crichton Street. These sightings have been confirmed on CCTV.
“We have already received a large amount of relevant information from the public regarding this incident and are currently following a positive line of enquiry.
“We have also attempted to contact a number of witnesses who have been identified to us, but have not been able to get in touch with them.
“We would therefore like to ask anyone who has information about this incident who we have not already spoken to, to contact us – in particular if you saw the described man in the area of Baxter Park, Arbroath Road, Blackscroft, Dock Street, the Tay Bridge, Slessor Gardens or Crichton Street, between 3pm and 7pm on Monday 16th.
“We are also very interested in a report given to us regarding a man being seen possibly mistreating a dog in Baxter Park around that time.
“Anyone with any information should contact Police Scotland on 101, quoting CR/17475/18 or speak to any police officers”.
In the meantime, Kelly and her friends formed the Facebook group Justice for Pixie with the aim of spreading awareness about the case and campaigning for justice. Sadly that justice never came when Alexander walked free from court with a nominal fine for dog theft.
#TheList Ali El-Aridi, born c. 1996, of 89 Stubbins Lane, Sheffield S5 6QJ – kidnapped a sheep from a beauty spot and abandoned her in a suburban street; caught with extreme animal porn on his mobile phone
Ali El-Aridi filmed himself chasing a sheep along the banks of Ladybower Reservoir. When he eventually caught her, El-Aridi directed an expletive-filled rant at the animal, which he recorded on his phone.
He then drove the sheep to his home city and released her into a suburban area, again filming it all as he went.
The theft, in August 2018, came to the attention of Derbyshire Rural Crime Team after members of the public who witnessed the theft from the other side of the reservoir posted what they had seen on Facebook.
Within a day the sheep had been reunited with her owner, having been rescued from the Wincobank area of Sheffield by some of the local community, and El-Aridi was identified.
Officers examined El Aridi’s phone and found the evidence he had filmed, as well as two extreme pornographic material, specifically a collage picture of images of a dead cat in various sexual acts with a man, and a video of a horse involved in oral sex with a man.
El-Aridi admitted theft and was found guilty of possessing extreme pornography.
Speaking about the case PC Andy Shaw, Derbyshire Police’s Rural Crime Team, noted El-Aridi’s “sheer disregard” for the welfare of the sheep and that “he seemed to care significantly more about the mess it had made to his boot lining.”
Sentencing: 12-month community order of 100 hours of unpaid work. Ordered to pay £620 in costs.
Carter’s court appearance came after a police investigation across the West Mercia, Warwickshire and West Midlands Police regions.
An application by the prosecution for Carter to be disqualified from owning animals again was not granted.
Sentencing: six-month custodial sentence for handling stolen goods and three months for the animal offence – to run concurrently.While an application by the prosecution for Carter to be disqualified from keeping animals was not initially granted, this was overturned on appeal in November 2019 and Carter is banned from keeping animals for life.
#TheList vet Dr Zahra Tahaneem Rafiq, born circa 1990, now of Wallington, Surrey and previously of Merseyside – took two newborn French bulldog puppies from their owners; one of puppies died
Dr Zara Rafiq was fired after she took a French bulldog puppy she was meant to be delivering.
Rafiq took the pup home with her after joking to a colleague that she planned to do it. The newborn dog died three days later at Rafiq’s home, which she admitted despite earlier saying it had faded in her car.
Rafiq had delivered the litter of six dogs, each worth up to £2,000, by Caesarian.
Instead of leaving them to recover with their mum Lila, she and a colleague, Oscar Perez Maillo, both took a puppy home with them.
The second dog was later returned still alive after another worker with VetsNow raised concerns.
Rafiq was fired by VetsNow in Huyton, Merseyside, and a misconduct hearing by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons found her to be ‘dishonest’. However, she was cleared to practise again after six months.
‘I’m fuming,’ owner Safinah Mhagrh told the Daily Record. ‘That vet stole my puppy. It was a terrible, heartless thing to do. She should not be allowed to practise.’
Safinah had taken her three-year-old French bulldog Lila to surgery after she went into labour in December 2017.
‘The first one was coming out legs first and got stuck. I thought Lila was going to die,’ she said. She was told to go home while vets operated.
When she came back, she was told there had been a litter of four but the stuck one hadn’t survived. Another of the puppies then died as it was too weak, but Lila bonded with the remaining two.
Ms Mhagrh said she had contacted police but the case hadn’t been taken further. A hearing heard Rafiq was remorseful and not motivated by financial gain.
Panel chair Ian Arundel said: ‘The committee concluded Dr Rafiq was very unlikely to pose a risk to animals in future.’
VetsNow refunded the £200 cost for the Caesarian.
Dr Laura Playforth, head of veterinary standards at Vets Now said: ‘We are extremely sorry about what happened, especially to our client and their pets.
‘We are very clear on our position here – these individuals will not work with us again.
‘I want to reassure pet owners that this is an isolated incident. We have almost 600 vets and vet nurses working for us up and down the country, working tirelessly to help animals in their greatest time of need. In my 20 years as a vet, I’ve never seen anything like this case.’
#TheList Gary Marshman, born 30/05/1983, originally from Black Abbey in Bradford but has lived in Tennyson Ave, Bridlington YO15 2EX for several years – stole an elderly couple’s border collie from outside a supermarket; dog found dead with injuries consistent with being thrown from height
In January 2010 Marshman who had a string of previous convictions including possession of a firearm and burglary, stole 12-year-old border collie Jess, beloved pet of retired couple Ron and Enid Bisby, from outside a supermarket in Cleckheaton.
Two days later Jess’s battered body was found in shallow water at the bottom of a viaduct. It appeared that she had been thrown from a bridge. Her collar and lead were found in bushes nearby.
CCTV cameras captured Marshman, who at the time was staying at a local bail hostel, going into the supermarket to buy socks. He was then shown running off with the dog.
Marshman refused to say if he had thrown to dog to her death and was convicted only of theft.
Enid Bisby spoke afterwards of the impact the loss of their pet had had on her and her husband. She said: “Jess was the love of our lives, so much so we had an artist paint a picture of her from a photograph. For this to happen to any dog would be terrible, but for it to happen to an old, trusting dog makes it even more upsetting.”
Ron Bisby said: ““I have been unable to sleep properly. I feel numb and I miss my dog terribly. My wife feels she has aged 10 years and won’t leave the house. I can’t put a price on Jess. She is priceless to me.”
Sentencing: jailed for 26 weeks for theft. No ban.