#TheList Aaron Ray, born c. 2002, of 29 Mayfield Road, Sunderland SR4 0NE – stabbed a pet cockatiel to death in a fit of rage
Aaron Ray left the unnamed family pet with fatal injuries after plunging a knife into the back of her neck.
Northumbria Police officers found the deceased bird after being called to Ray’s home following reports of a disturbance. When questioned, Ray displayed an astonishing lack of remorse for his sickening cruelty, insisting “it’s just a bird”.
In court, Ray pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.
PC Peter Baker, wildlife officer at Northumbria Police, said Ray’s conviction should act as a reminder that animal cruelty is a criminal offence.
He said: “Aaron Ray showed a total disregard for the welfare of this bird and inflicted catastrophic injuries that it could not survive from.
“This kind of behaviour is not only reckless and upsetting, but a criminal offence and that’s the lesson that Ray now must learn.
“We are a nation of animal lovers, so it is upsetting to come across incidents such as this where the defendant has caused inevitable and unnecessary suffering to an animal.”
Sentencing: 12-week custodial sentence, suspended for one year. 15-year ban from owning animals.
#TheList Michael ‘Mick’ Lingen, born 11/07/1967, of 29 Northfield Street, Worcester WR1 1NS – killed a Yorkshire terrier by hitting him on the head with an axe
Lingen admitted two charges – one of destroying the dog, who belonged to his former partner, and another of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal by striking him in the head with an axe.
Magistrates said the offence was so serious they had to impose a sentence of 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months.
Lingen must carry out 200 hours unpaid work within the next twelve months.
He must also pay £135 costs and a £122 victim surcharge.
Lingen was also disqualified for life from owning or keeping all animals or being involved in any arrangement in which he could control or influence their care – made under Section 34 Animal Welfare Act 2006.
#TheList Carl Anthony Dyson, born 03/04/1979, of 90 Belmont Avenue, Blackpool FY1 4BG – killed a cat by dropping a concrete slab onto her head to “put it out of its misery”
Father-of-two Dyson admitted killing the female black and white long-haired cat, called Paddy, at an address on Salthouse Avenue, Blackpool, on October 23, 2019.
The court heard how Dyson had been seen by a neighbour carrying Paddy, wrapped in a pink towel, into his friend’s back garden, where he dropped a large concrete slab twice on the animal’s head.
The witness said they saw the cat trying to wriggle free before Dyson let go of the slab.
Paul Ridehalgh, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said the witness “saw Dyson drop a slab as thick as a laptop on the cat’s head as it lay in the yard”, and added: “She saw the cat try and escape from the blanket before Dyson did the same thing again.”
The neighbour alerted the RSPCA and inspectors found “a plethora” of traumatic injuries to Paddy’s head.
Mr Ridehalgh said: “The inspector observer a black and white plastic cat carrier that appeared to have blood on it. Inside he found the body of a black and white cat.
“The cat appeared to have suffered massive injuries to her head, as it was crushed on one side, with its eye bulging.
“The defendant said he believed the cat may have been hit by a car.”
After telling Paddy’s owner, Anthony Johnson, what had happened, the cat’s body was taken away for further inspection.
Mr Ridehalgh said: “The cat had suffered traumatic injuries to its head. The conclusion was that these injuries were caused by forceful, violent compression of the cat’s head. The death could have been very quick.
“The cat could have been suffering from some cancerous lumps in the head area. Vets also examined the cat and found it to be in a poor condition, it was severely underweight with fleas jumping off her. The fur was matted and covered in faeces.
“The cat’s head had clearly been crushed. The vet’s opinion was that the cat’s injuries were unsurvivable. In her opinion, the cat’s death would have certainly caused suffering… the dropping of a concrete slab on a cat is not an acceptable method of euthanasia, and any reasonable person would have taken the cat to a vet.”
A veterinary examination found the cat had been suffering from a cancerous tumour in the mouth and was severely underweight.
When interviewed by the RSPCA, the defendant claimed he thought the cat had been injured in a road accident and he “panicked”.
Dyson’s lawyer Gary McAnulty of Fylde Law told the court his client “was suffering at the time with some mental health problems, anxiety and depression.”
Sentencing Dyson, magistrate Ed Beaman said: “The cat was trying to escape the blanket and was not so ill as to be accepting of its fate.
“There’s evidence that the cat was distressed while in the blanket prior to the first impact. We believe the cat was still alive prior to the second impact, and this caused distress to both the cat and the witnesses who saw the offence.”
Sentencing: 12 weeks in jail (released on bail after lodging an appeal). Ordered to pay a total of £200 coss and charges. Banned from owning, keeping or managing animals indefinitely.
#TheList John Joseph Boyle, born 17/09/1965, of 663 Springfield Road, Belfast BT12 7HD – beat an injured dog to death with two hammers
John Boyle, formerly of Ardilea Court, Ardoyne, admitted killing his pet dog with two hammers after she had been hit by a car. He then dumped her remains in a wheelie bin. The horrific incident took place on 23 November 2017.
Officers went to Boyle’s house after being called by a concerned neighbour who had seen him with the ailing pet and who was worried he would not seek proper care for her injuries.
When Boyle was questioned about the whereabouts of the pup, he said a friend had taken her away to a farmhouse in the countryside.
But when his house and yard were searched, the body of the dog and two bloodied hammers were discovered.
He then admitted killing his pet and said he couldn’t afford to take her to the vet.
A spokesperson for Belfast City Council said: “This was a particularly extreme and harrowing case.
“Belfast City Council brought the prosecution after animal welfare officers followed up on a report that a dog had been knocked down by a car and injured,” they explained.
“Mr Boyle took a hammer and killed the dog, placing it in a wheelie bin.
“Animal welfare officers attended the property at Ardilea Court and found the dog’s body. They seized a wooden mallet and metal hammer from the property, both with evidence of dried blood on them.”
The court viewed the offence as so serious that it justified a jail term.
Boyle will serve his sentence in Maghaberry Prison.
Sentencing: six months in jail; fines totalling £264. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
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.
#TheList badger baiter Conran Connor, born 01/12/1998, of 61 Gateside Road, Wishaw ML2 7SB – kept dogs for animal fighting
Conran Connor was sentenced to 21 weeks in prison and given a 15-year ban on owning and/or being in control of any animal after admitting to keeping and training his three dogs for animal fighting.
Connor was caught when a Patterdale terrier was discovered with horrific injuries consistent with being caused by badger baiting. The dog’s injuries were so severe that he had to be put down by vets.
Knives were then found in Connor’s home with badger blood and DNA during a Scottish SPCA investigation.
The probe revealed Connor had direct links to badger baiting.
He dug up badger setts in woodland in Motherwell, Lanarkshire, in preparation for illegal and bloody fights where the animals are set upon by dogs.
A Scottish SPCA undercover inspector said: “We became aware of Connor following an enquiry into an abandoned Patterdale terrier, found in the Carnwatch/Carluke area, which had injuries consistent with badger baiting and fighting.
“The dog had to be euthanised due to the extent of his injuries.
“Our investigation led to the home of Connor and with a warrant, we discovered evidence to suggest he was engaging in animal fighting.”
The inspector added: “We recovered proof that Connor had held conversations specific to purchasing dogs for, and discussing, animal fighting.
“Other items recovered from the house included numerous magazines and books relating specifically to hunting and fighting dogs with wild animals, hunting clothes, devices used to lure foxes called fox callers, a torch identical to one found during the excavation of a badger sett and knives, many of which were subsequently found to have badger blood and DNA.
“We were able to gather the DNA evidence thanks to Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA).
“Multiple items found matched those in Connor’s possession of him posing with dead wild animals and his three dogs”.
The SIU inspector added: “Other images confirmed his presence at badger baiting sites and showed his own dogs at the entrance to a badger sett.
“There were also men digging into the ground at night in woodland. This is an activity carried out as part of the badger baiting process. Other pictures include a dog with injuries consistent with badger fighting.
“We welcome the sentence handed down to Connor. He engaged in depraved acts that showed his complete disregard for animal welfare.
“He caused extreme levels of suffering to the wild animals involved and put his three dogs at great risk of injury or death, and failed to get any veterinary treatment when they were injured.”
The Scottish SPCA’s special investigations unit are experts in investigating animal fighting offences and rely on information from the public to continue to put a stop to this horrific activity.
Sentencing: 21 weeks in prison. Banned from owning any animal for 15 years.
#TheList Maidstone gypsies and serial animal abusers Jimmy Price, born c. 1994, of Forstal Farm, Well Street, Loose ME15 0QE, Samuel ‘Johnny’ Powell, born c. 1985, of Wheat Gratten Stableyards, Forstal Road, Lenham ME17 2BF, Danny Price, born c. 1990, of Victoria Stables, Victoria Court, East Farleigh ME15 0BW
Jimmy Price and Samuel Powell were sent to prison after the former was filmed repeatedly stabbing a deer and the latter had put an eight-month-old foal to work. Price was also found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a horse and two dogs.
Jimmy Price’s brother, Danny Price – a qualified jockey – admitted letting a horse starve to death and received a community order.
A video played to the court showed Jimmy Price’s dogs, Scout and Tramp, untethered and unfed at the father-of-two’s home address in Forstal Farm, Loose.
A voice in the video was heard to say: “If they run away good luck to them, I tell you what you’re the wickedest fella I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Jimmy Price, who has a history of violence, was previously convicted in December 2019 after repeatedly stabbing a deer. He was also caught hare coursing.
Rowan Morton, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said today: “It’s very difficult to even explain the gravity of what the video shows.
“There are a group of four males that can be seen with a deer. Jimmy Price is seen stabbing the deer multiple times in the throat while others shout at him to stab it.
“It’s very graphic and upsetting, there was no doubt that animal was caused significant pain and suffering.”
Price, who was already serving a suspended sentence for theft offences, has previously been convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to dogs.
When Tramp and Scout were taken into the RSPCA’s care and fed properly, they gained 25% bodyweight and 45% bodyweight respectively within seven weeks.
Price’s dogs and the horse, which belonged to his late father, were seized during an RSPCA raid on Forstal Farm in March 2019.
Horse trader Samuel Powell had three horses seized during the same raid, having had a mare and her foal seized two months prior.
Four of the horses were found to be emaciated. One was suffering with diarrhoea and the foal had breathing problems, fleas and was described as “very thin”.
A Shetland Pony was found with a cut across the nose.
Powell accepted each of the horses was his own, but said they were in that condition as he was rehabilitating them.
He told the court: “I will buy horses that have not been treated properly. When I get them I feed them, look after them and rehabilitate them. Then I sell them for profit.
“I like to think I sometimes save lives when I buy horses.”
When asked where he buys his horses, Powell said: “I don’t want to go into too much detail as I’m from the gypsy community.”
In 2019 Powell was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a foal which was seen walking up and down at Appleby Horse Fair pulling a cart with people in.
On Friday 10/01/2020 Powell was found guilty of four counts of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and a fifth charge of failing to ensure the welfare of an animal. The five charges relate to the five horses seized from Forstal Farm.
Danny Price admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a bay horse. In return charges of causing suffering to a bay mare, a black mare and a piebald mare, were dropped.
The bay horse was found dead next to a hay bale during the RSPCA raid in March 2019. He had starved to death.
Magistrates heard the 29-year-old had stopped looking after the horse as he was in the process of selling it, and thought it was the new owner’s responsibility.
Sentencing: Jimmy Price – jailed for seven and a half months of which half will be spent in custody. Ordered to pay £5,115 in costs and charges. Five-year order banning him from keeping dogs.
Samuel Powell – jailed for 26 weeks and will serve half of that sentence. Ordered to pay total of £5,115. Banned from owning horses for five years but can appeal after just one year.
Danny Price – 12-month community order; 150 hours of unpaid work; ordered to pay £1,585.
#TheList serial wildlife persecutor Scott Matthew Cochrane, born 09/11/1989, of 4 Yarrow Close, Poole BH12 4FL – found with dead rabbits, lurcher-type dogs and steel ball bearings
Repeat offender Cochrane was back in court after breaching a five-year criminal behaviour order imposed in September 2015 after a video of him pulling the head off a live wood pigeon was uploaded to Facebook. He admitted being in possession of a wild animal and for hunting a wild mammal with a dog, an offence under Section 1 of the Hunting Act 2004.
Cochrane, whose Facebook account is riddled with boasts about his ‘kills’, is now prohibited from entering many rural areas in Dorset, Wiltshire and Hampshire. The areas include south of the A35 in the Purbeck and Dorchester area, rural northeast Dorset up to the M4 corridor in north Wiltshire and parts of the New Forest in Hampshire.
This will prevent him from using routes such as the A338 from Ringwood into Wiltshire, A354 from Puddletown to Salisbury and A350 from Wimborne to parts of Wiltshire, which all feature in hotspots for such rural crime.
At 11.41pm on Saturday October 5, 2019, officers were called to a rural location in the Blandford area in relation to suspected poaching in fields. They located a van and saw two men – one of whom was the defendant.
There were two lurcher-type dogs with them and they had a high powered lamp. They were also found to be carrying dead rabbits. A search of their vehicle located a catapult and steel ball bearings, as well as further dead rabbits.
The new criminal behaviour order will last for three years.
Cochrane must not:
• Act or incite others to behave in an anti-social manner, that is to say a manner that causes harassment, alarm or distress to any persons.
• Use or incite others to use threatening, intimidating, insulting or abusive words or behaviour in any place to which the public has access.
• Be in possession of a wild animal, wild bird or part of a wild animal or bird living or dead.
• Be in possession of a catapult or shot, such as ball bearings, or to be in a vehicle with a catapult or such shot in a place to which the public have access or private land as a trespasser.
• Allow a dog under his control off a lead, except on private land with the land owners written permission.
• Be in a vehicle with a dog traditionally used for the purpose of hare and deer coursing, such as a Lurcher, Greyhound, Saluki, or a cross breed of these varieties unless travelling to an emergency vets appointment.
• Own dogs traditionally used for the purposes of hare and deer coursing such as Lurchers, Greyhounds, Saluki or a cross breed of these varieties.
Police Constable Claire Dinsdale, Rural Crime Co-ordinator for Dorset Police, said: “Coursing with dogs and poaching is a national priority for both rural and wildlife crime and there are many repeat victims across the UK.
“This issue is not about ‘one for the pot’ but part of a network of persistent criminals who will threaten and intimidate our rural communities if challenged and cause thousands of pounds worth of damage to crops, gates and other property.
“They train their dogs on rabbits, hares and even on deer, with no regard for the welfare of wildlife or their dogs and they are willing to travel vast distances into other counties.
“Dorset Police is part of the national strategy between 22 police forces, Operation Galileo, where civil and criminal powers will be used to prevent such offending by hare coursers and protect vulnerable victims.
“I hope this sends a clear message that coursing and other such crimes are not tolerated and we will take robust action against anyone suspected of such an offence.
“This now varied order is a first of its kind for rural crime, in that it bans the defendant from large areas of rural land across three counties and it restricts his ownership of certain dog breeds and cross breeds.”
Sentencing: eight weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months. Victim surcharge of £122 and £85 costs. The other man was given a caution. Three-year criminal behaviour order.
Update 13/03/20: Dorset Police announced on their Facebook page that Cochrane has been jailed after breaching a criminal behaviour order that banned him from being in possession of a catapult.
He was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison on Friday 6 March 2020 after admitting breaching a criminal behaviour order and a suspended sentence order.
On Wednesday 25 December 2019 Dorset Police was made aware of a live stream video that had been uploaded to social media that showed Cochrane sat in the passenger seat of a 4×4 vehicle in a rural location.
The video showed Cochrane pull out a catapult and pretend to fire it at the person who was filming. The occupants then stop the vehicle when they notice something in a field and the video stops moments later.
Cochrane was arrested on Friday 3 January 2020 and admitted that the video had been filmed on Christmas Day 2019 and confirmed it was him in the video. He did not disclose who else was in the video.
When he was sentenced on Friday 6 March 2020 the eight-week suspended term was activated and Cochrane was also sentenced to a further four weeks in prison for breaching the criminal behaviour order, resulting in a total sentence of 12 weeks in prison.
Police Constable Claire Dinsdale, Rural Crime Co-ordinator for Dorset Police, said: “Scott Cochrane showed a blatant disregard for court orders that were in place to protect wild animals as he had previously been sentenced for coursing offences.
“Coursing with dogs and poaching is a national priority for both rural and wildlife crime and there are many repeat victims across the UK.
#TheList Reece Reed (aka Reece Howard-Reed), born c. 2000, most recently of Club Street, Kettering NN16 8RP – mutilated a prize-winning miniature horse by stabbing him 20 times; ripped the wings off three chickens
Reed, who has previous convictions for burglary and vehicle theft, attacked the animals in April 2018 after breaking into a Wellingborough farm. The farm owner was alerted by a burglar alarm at 07:30 a.m.
Prosecutor Priya Bakshi told the court: “He ran to the summer house to investigate. There he found a shovel, and saw one window had been pried open and another had been smashed.
“He peered through the window. There, he saw a man with a six-inch kitchen knife inside the chicken coop.”
The farmer scared off the armed man – Reed, who was naked from the waist down – before searching his stables to see if any animals had been hurt.
It was then that he found his daughter’s prize-winning miniature show horse Sol. His back legs and rear had been stabbed 20 times and he was bleeding heavily.
Additionally, Reed had cut the wings off of three chickens. They had to be put down.
In court, the judge heard how Sol was a prize winner worth over £3,000 and was on track to becoming a champion show horse. But following the attack, Sol was rendered unfit to compete ever again.
In a victim impact statement read out in court, Sol’s owner said: After I learned that Sol had been hurt I was devastated and heartbroken.
“Sol was and is my best friend and he will always be part of the family.”
Reed later pleaded guilty to the offence.
His defence barrister, Osmun Munir, said the 19-year-old was “remorseful and expresses sympathy for the family”.
But in sentencing, Judge Fowler was unable to jail Reed for more than two months over the mutilations – because the attacks were charged as “criminal damage” rather than, for example, animal cruelty.
He told Reed: “This episode can only be described as wholly despicable. The charges that you face today do not reflect the wickedness of your behaviour.
“This has been treated as if it were criminal damage against two inanimate objects. It isn’t. And it is in my view and error that ought to be corrected.”
#TheList Brendan Murphy, born c. 1967, of Nantwich – stabbed his dog twice before throwing her into the canal to drown
Murphy, who lives on a barge on the Shropshire Union Canal, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to his poorly Akita dog , Tara, by stabbing her twice, chaining a heavy weight around her body and dumping her in the canal to drown.
The court heard how Tara’s body was seen floating in the Shropshire Union canal at Nantwich on October 6, 2018, and police were called. Officers then alerted the RSPCA
Inspector Andy Harris investigated and took the dog’s body to the vets, where a post mortem examination revealed she had been suffering from a lung disease for a number of weeks.
The vet also found she had been stabbed twice before her body entered the canal. Due to the state of decomposition her body had been in the water for about three weeks.
Some patches of fur missing on Tara’s body suggested the propeller of a barge had come into contact with her under water and this had freed her body from the item used to weigh her down.
Her microchip revealed she was owned by Murphy so Inspector Harris visited his address and he admitted Tara was his.
During interview, Murphy admitted he was aware Tara was unwell with a lung condition and had sought veterinary advice but could not afford the treatment.
He said she had died on the canal barge and so he buried her in woodland near Crewe where he was moored at the time.
He said in interview that he went to the spot where he buried her to pay his respects a few times but claimed about two weeks later her body had been dug up and said he had no idea how she ended up in the canal.
As it was suspected Tara had drowned, samples of her bone marrow were sent away for forensic testing – the first time this technique has been used in an RSPCA prosecution.
The test showed that Tara died from drowning.
In a witness statement, an expert vet told the court: “It is my expert opinion that Tara was suffering as a result of underlying ill health at the time of her death.
“It is further my expert opinion that Tara was alive when she was placed in the canal and that she was deliberately anchored down with a length of chain.
“The cause of death in Tara is hence in my expert opinion drowning.”
Inspector Harris said: “Poor Tara had a lung disease which was left untreated and therefore she was left suffering will this illness for a number of weeks.
“She was then stabbed in the abdomen twice before being thrown alive into the canal, where she drowned.
“It is upsetting to think about what she must have endured during her final moments.”
Sentencing: 10-week jail sentence suspended for 12 months; ordered to pay a total of £415 in costs and charges. Banned from keeping animals for 10 years.