Neighbour cleared by jury over shooting of dog that came into garden

Fiona McIntosh has been cleared of fraud at Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Fiona McIntosh has been cleared of fraud at Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: PHIL MORLEY - Credit: Archant

A 78-year-old Suffolk man accused of killing his neighbour’s dog with a shotgun and then threatening to shoot its owner has been cleared by a jury.

Before Ipswich Crown Court was Robin Rolph, of Undley Road, Lakenheath, who had denied affray and destroying a dog belonging to Robin Conway-Lusted in September last year.

He was cleared of both charges by a jury after a five-day trial but was fined £500 after admitting unlawfully possessing 26 rounds of ammunition.

The court heard that the ammunition was found in Rolph’s gun cabinet following his arrest in September.

During his trial Rolph claimed Mr Conway-Lusted’s Mastiff cross Labrador had attacked his Jack Russell cross called Ted.

Following his arrest Rolph said he heard his wife screaming and saw that his neighbour’s dog had Ted by the scruff of the neck and was “shaking it like a rag doll”.

Ted was subsequently taken to a local vets and was found to have a 20cm long and 5cm wide gaping neck wound which was bleeding profusely and a second smaller wound.

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The 10-year-old had drains inserted in the wounds and was hospitalised for five days.

During a police interview Rolph claimed that after attacking Ted, his neighbour’s dog had jumped on to a wall and turned to face him.

“I thought he was going to come for me and I panicked and pulled the trigger,” said Rolph.

“I hoped I hadn’t wounded him but I probably did.

“I’m an animal lover and wouldn’t want to hurt a dog,” said Rolph.

He said that shortly afterwards Mr Conway-Lusted had “charged” up to him, shouting and waving his hands and was pulled back by his wife.

Rolph denied pointing his gun at Mr Conway-Lusted and threatening to shoot him.

It was alleged that Rolph shot Mr Conway-Lusted’s dog after it went through a fence into his garden.

It was also alleged that when Mr Conway-Lusted confronted Rolph after hearing a gunshot Rolph had threatened to shoot him as well.

The court heard that Coco’s body was found by a perimeter fence the next day.

Steven Dyble for Rolph said his client had inherited the ammunition from his father and it had stopped being manufactured many years ago.

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