Teenage rabbit killers apologise before walking free from court

Percy the rabbit
Percy the rabbit
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TWO rabbit killers have apologised for taking a family’s pet, throwing her out of the window then wringing her neck.

Dominic Baker – who can today be named by the Echo after turning 18 – was the one who wrung the neck of Percy the white lion head rabbit, after she was taken from a hutch in Embleton Mews, Dawdon.

Baker, of Station Road, Seaham, who has previously kept rabbits told a youth court, held at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court: “I feel sorry for the family and what they have gone through.”

He appeared in court yesterday with a 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, for sentencing.

The pair, along with Martin Bell, 20, and Frank Hudson, 19, had already admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal by putting Percy in a bath, attempting to shave her and throwing her out the window, at a house party in Eloise Close, Seaham.

The 17-year-old also admitted stealing the rabbit from its hutch and dumping her in a bin liner on a nearby path.

He told the court: “I’m just sorry and ashamed for what I done. I wish I’d never done anything that night.”

Percy had given birth to five babies days earlier. All died despite the best efforts of Anthony and Rebecca Atkinson, 31, and children Jessica Lennox, 14, Aarron, 10, and four-year-old Brynn Atkinson.

A youth court told Baker it considered their actions so serious they should face custody.

However, as Bell, of Parkside Crescent, Seaham, and Hudson, of Evesham Road, Eastlea, Seaham, had been given community orders last Friday by Peterlee magistrates, they should be given parity in their sentences.

They were given 12-month referral orders, ordered to pay costs of £85, a victim surcharge of £15 and £50 compensation to the Atkinsons.

Like Bell, who threw the pet from a first-floor bathroom window, and Hudson, the pair have been banned from keeping animals for five years. Baker’s family now facing losing their dog.

Baker’s mother, Margaret, told the court: “To think about how we would have felt if it had been our rabbit, it was just totally devastating.”

Chairwoman of the bench, Aileen Little, said they should stop spending money on drink and drugs and be wiser about their choice of friends, branding their actions “revolting.”

Mike Simpson, mitigating, said they had been vilified by the community, had been threatened and their names had been graffited outside Peterlee’s courthouse.

Bell and Hudson were also sentenced to an 18-month community order, with supervision, 200 hours of unpaid work and told to pay £85 costs and £50 in compensation.