Judge blasts legal guidelines after yobs who filmed animals fighting win jail cut
A BARBARIC duo who made animals fight to the death were branded “sick” by campaigners after they had their jail sentences cut because of a legal technicality.
Wayne Lumsden and Connor Patterson were jailed after organising fights between cats, dogs, foxes, hens and a badger.
But judges at Newcastle Crown Court were forced to cut their prison sentences because the pair had not been given credit for pleading guilty at an earlier hearing.
The court was shown mobile phone footage of animals ripping one another apart while the pair, both 23, could be heard laughing and joking.
Patterson, of Whitfield, near Hexham, who was jailed for 20 weeks by South East Northumberland magistrates after admitting two counts of causing an animal fight, walked free from court after Recorder David Gordon slashed his sentence to 16 weeks yesterday.
Lumsden, of Park Road, Lynemouth, Northumberland, had 26 weeks cut to 21 by Judge John Evans at a separate hearing.
He admitted willfully killing a badger and two counts of causing an animal fight.
Louise Robertson, deputy head of campaigns for the League Against Cruel Sport, said: “Crimes of this nature, involving such needless brutality, are absolutely appalling and I find it almost impossible to imagine what drives an individual to treat animals in this way.
“It is quite staggering than someone can get sick pleasure from pitting one animal against another and watching them fight until their death.
“Despite being reduced the sentence still remains custodial which is a reflection of the horrific level of cruelty inflicted on the animals.
“We are pleased the crime has been dealt with seriously and has resulted in those involved being appropriately punished.”
Denise Jackman, for the RSPCA, showed the court two clips, one of Patterson standing on a fox’s neck and, second, of a dog mauling a fox in a cage, which had Patterson filmed.
Patterson, a gamekeeper, also had the period he is disqualified from keeping animals reduced from eight to five years.
On granting the appeal against the sentence, recorder Gordon said Patterson had “suffered considerably” in prison and had missed the birth of his new baby, Cassidy, two weeks ago.
Judge Evans, however, said it was “difficult to find words” to describe Lumsden’s crimes and was “hesitant” to reduce the sentence imposed by magistrates.
He admitted letting his dog loose on a badger, something he described as “mint” in a text message, and organised a cock fight.
A film shown to the court traced to Lumsden also showed four dogs attacking a cat.
Men’s voices could be heard to say “Get in Brock”, “Takes some killing this” and “Can’t be much life in this now”.
The court heard, however, that Lumsden, was entitled to a discount in sentence because he had admitted to his crimes.
He said: “The appellant and his friends have taken delight in what they were organising and witnessing what the vast majority of the population would have regarded as utterly abhorrent.
“It is difficult to understand how someone can derive any pleasure whatsoever in encouraging animals to engage in this sort of activity.
“Were it not for the fact we are bound to allow some credit for a guilty plea this appeal would be dismissed.”