Blyth speed driver Stephen Brown jailed for animal cruelty
by Brian Daniel, The Journal
May 10 2013
Stephen Brown, 29, of Blyth who was jailed for animal cruelty
A NORTHUMBERLAND man who took mobile phone pictures of his dogs killing a deer has been jailed.
Stephen Brown, 29, of Blyth, was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison and given a seven-year ban from keeping animals after sickening images were found on his phone by police who had arrested him for something else.
Brown pleaded guilty to two charges brought by the RSPCA of entering land without consent of the owner or occupier in search or pursuit of a deer with intent to take, kill or injure, and causing or attempting to cause an animal fight to take place.
Both charges were dated between November 18, 2011, and April 17, 2012, while three others were withdrawn.
Brown had already been jailed for 15 months at Newcastle Crown Court after leading police on a high-speed chase at twice the speed limit while banned from the road.
Mid and South East Northumberland magistrates in Bedlington have since heard how on July 12, last year, an officer from Northumbria Police arrested Brown, of Fenwick Drive, for an unrelated matter.
His Blackberry phone was seized and the contents of it reviewed.
In all, 25 photos were found, involving up to three lurcher dogs and a deer.
Dogs are seen shaking the deer by the head and biting its neck.
In another image, the deer is “struggling for its life,” prosecutor Denise Jackman told the court.
A further image shows the deer lying on its front with a dog’s jaws over the back of its neck.
In others, a booted foot is visible pressing against the deer’s head, pushing it towards the dog.
The dog is biting the jugular area, “a killing attack” Mrs Jackman said.
In some pictures, the deer appears to be unconscious or dead.
A person is visible in some holding the unconscious or dead deer while in one it is lain over a car bonnet.
The court heard the Grey Diahatsu Fourtrak 4×4 in the images was registered to Brown and that police had seen him in or with the vehicle on numerous occasions.
Furthermore officers knew he had owned a black lurcher which had been recently killed by a car.
A search warrant was obtained by police.
Items were recovered and seized which included hunting lamps, a battery pack, a mobile phone and a picture showing a black lurcher type dog attacking a deer.
Dog Lass was also seized with it resembling one of the animals on the photos.
Brown was arrested and the dog and photos examined by a vet.
Mrs Jackman told the court the case “covers a subject which the wider public are appalled at”.
She said: “These photographs depict such behaviour where it can be seen the dogs are attacking the deer and in other photographs the dogs are present when the deer is there.
“The defendant has deliberately and on several occasions caused immense suffering to deer by virtue of the dogs being set upon them.
“The extreme fear caused to the animals and the pain inflicted before death was entirely avoidable.
“The period of time cannot be exactly timed but the vet is certain it was not instantaneous.”
Magistrates imposed an eight-week jail term on the deer charge and 18 weeks on the other, ordering them to run concurrently.
The seven-year animal ban was imposed on the causing animal to fight charge.
The court ordered that it could not be challenged for three years.
Magistrates ordered that Lass be taken from Brown’s care and given to the RSPCA.
They also ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the equipment seized from Brown’s home.
After the case, inspector Helen Bestwick said: “It is a very serious matter of horrific animal cruelty which has been taken very seriously by the RSPCA and the police and we are very happy with the outcome.”
Brown’s solicitor Graham Crouth declined to comment after the case.