Man jailed for kicking cat to death

A MAN has been jailed after he admitted carrying out an “horrific” attack on a neighbour's cat and leaving it for dead.

Elliot Furniss

A MAN has been jailed after he admitted carrying out an “horrific” attack on a neighbour's cat and leaving it for dead.

James Gibbons repeatedly kicked Gizmo the white and tabby cat before putting its lifeless body into a black sack and tossing it into a nearby bin, Colchester Magistrates' Court heard yesterday.

Gibbons, 32, of Ascot House, London Road, Stanway, had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing and was yesterday sentenced to 13 weeks in prison.

The court heard that after a series of interviews, Gibbons eventually came clean and told police officers he had “heard voices” in his head during the incident in March, although they had not told him to attack the cat, which belonged to a neighbour.

Alison Collier, prosecuting, said a vet had examined the body of the cat for the RSPCA and found that the repeated kicks to its body would have been “incredibly painful”.

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She said: “There is no doubt that the cat would have suffered in the hours from the fist kick to its death. If the cat was put in the bag while still conscious then there would be added trauma.”

The court heard that Gibbons had a history of mental health issues as well as drink and drug problems, but had been drug-free for nine weeks and was regularly attending counselling sessions and narcotics anonymous meetings.

Defence solicitor Anna Perera said Gibbons needed “an awful lot of help” and pleaded for a non-custodial sentence.

She said: “He has made a determined effort to wean himself off drugs. There is no doubt Mr Gibbons is sickened by what took place.

“He can't bring that cat back. He can't remedy that situation, but he has done everything possible to try to rectify the offence.”

But Robert Clubb, chairman of the magistrates, said a prison term was the only option available, according to sentencing guidelines.

He said: “We have given you credit for your guilty plea and your efforts since the event to change your life with regard to your addictions.

“We view the offence as so horrific that we start from the very top of our sentencing guidelines.”

Mr Clubb also ordered that Gibbons be banned from keeping pets for five years and be placed on the vulnerable prisoner list in light of his mental health problems.

Speaking after the case, RSPCA officer Carla Boreham said she was pleased the “severity” of the offence had been reflected in the sentencing.

She said: “This is an incredibly sad case and we feel sorry for the owner of the cat as well. Given the level of violence, it is important these sorts of offences are followed up.”

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