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Church cleaner escapes jail term for killing partner's cat after it 'stared at him while doing its business'

Thomas John Hogarth.
Thomas John Hogarth.

A man who killed his partner’s cat in horrific circumstances because he was fed up with it going to the toilet in the house has been handed a suspended prison sentence and a life-time animal ban.

Magistrates heard Thomas John Hogarth “snapped” because the cat had “stared at him while doing its business on the carpet” and that he had picked up Sophie the cat, throwing her onto the patio outside, before stamping on her head and dumping her in the bin.

Tragic Sophie.

Tragic Sophie.

The gruesome scene included a pool of blood and blood splattered all over the patio.

The 63-year-old church cleaner had been living with his then-partner Aileen Holmes, 66, who owned several cats at the time of the incident on August 23 last year.

RSPCA prosecutor Judith Curry said Sophie suffered a fractured skull and neck as well as other multiple injuries.

She died as a result of concussive brain injury caused by a single fatal blow to the head.

Hogarth pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, failing to ensure animal welfare and destroying property.

Jason Smith, defending, told South Tyneside Magistrates' Court: “I’m not going to sugarcoat this in any form.

“Thomas knows the situation he is in.

“He is utterly devastated by his actions and reactions.

“He can’t quite believe the way in which he conducted himself.

“He lost his wife a number of years ago.

“He served in the army. He’s got on very well with life until now.

“His family persuaded him to go on these dating websites, through which he met the lady with these cats.

“He can’t claim to be a particular animal lover, that’s not his bag.

“Ms Holmes had several cats and he put up with that.”

Devastated cat owner calls sentence an 'absolute joke'

Mr Smith said that when Hogarth, of Canterbury Way, Jarrow, had lived in his own property he had taken great pride in keeping it clean and tidy.

He said: “Living with Ms Holmes he began to dislike the smell, particularly the urine and faeces smell.

“This cat had problems they had tried to deal with.

“They had bought different types of cat litter and placed it all over the house.

“They had taken the cat to the vet with the intention of euthanising it.

“I think it was perhaps getting on Mr Hogarth’s nerves because his friends were commenting on the smell.

“On the day in question he was watching TV.

“The cat was in front of him almost staring at him before doing its business on the carpet in front of him.

“He can’t explain why he did what he did.

“It had pushed him over the edge and that was that.

“He accepts that was wholly wrong and he can’t believe the manner in which he reacted.

“He’s 63 years old and he’s never been in trouble before.

“Here we are because he snapped and he couldn’t take it any more.”

Hogarth, who was living with his partner in The Crescent, Jarrow, was sentenced to 12 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with requirements of 30 days’ specified activity and 300 hours of unpaid work.

He was disqualified from keeping animals for life and was told to pay £200 in compensation to Ms Holmes, £150 costs and a £15 surcharge.