Ex-councillor jailed for cat deaths

 

A former councillor who killed four kittens in "appalling scenes" of "unimaginable cruelty" has been jailed.

Robert Payne, a former councillor for the Keighley West ward of Bradford Council, swung the four-month-old cats round his house, broke their skulls and most of their limbs, and decapitated two of them.

Police and RSPCA officers called to his home in Ethel Street, Keighley, West Yorkshire, found three kittens in a freezer, blood spread around the house and fragments of the animals in the living room.

Payne, 36, who was drunk when police arrived, told officers he "must have got angry about something, picked up one of the cats by its stomach and used it as a battering ram, smashed its head against something".

Stephen Wood, prosecuting, told Bradford Crown Court that a neighbour called police on November 15 this year when she heard banging and the sound of a cat screaming.

Mr Wood said: "The police went inside and they were met with what the prosecution submit was an appalling scene, with fragments of dismembered parts of animals over the house, together with a substantial quantity of blood."

The barrister said the pattern of blood on the walls suggested a "profusely" bleeding cat had been swung around the room.

He said officers also found fragments of bone, an eyeball and part of a jaw with the tongue still attached on the living room floor.

Three of the kittens were found in a freezer and the fourth was found decapitated upstairs. Its head was never found.

The skulls of the other cats had all been crushed and nearly every limb had been fractured.

Mr Wood said: "Prior to their deaths, these kittens had been subjected to unimaginable cruelty."

Payne, who bought the kittens over the internet, told police he was not "100%" sure what had happened but said it was "more than likely" he had killed them.

He was jailed for five months for causing unnecessary suffering to the kittens and was handed a month to be served consecutively for breaching a previous suspended sentence for fraud.

Sentencing Payne, Judge Robert Bartfield described him as "a coward" for not fully admitting the "extreme and gratuitous violence" he had meted out to the kittens.

The judge told Payne: "For some reason, you decided to take your frustrations out on these innocent creatures who looked to you for their care."

He added: "You had killed three of them in circumstances which for them can only have been in the most unimaginable terror.

"Each of them was swung round the room deliberately, no doubt as to cause the maximum distress, and all of them had their skulls broken."

Judge Bartfield continued: "The police and RSPCA were greeted by the most horrific scene, with the living room spread about with the remains of these unfortunate creatures."

The judge said people feeling "revulsion" at the case would wonder why Payne was not being sent to prison for years.

But he said he was bound by sentencing guidelines, which state a maximum prison term of six months for such an offence.

Bespectacled Payne, wearing a short-sleeved red checked shirt and jeans, stood in the dock with his hands clasped in front of him and showed no expression as he was jailed.

He was also banned from keeping animals for life.

Payne was handed a suspended sentence in June this year for fraud by abuse of position.

Mr Wood told the court the defendant, who was acting as an accountant, kept a £3,587 tax rebate from a client.

He received calls to resign from his position as an independent councillor after this conviction but only stepped down from the role earlier this month.

Speaking after today's sentencing, Keith Dredge, a Labour councillor for the same ward, said he felt sickened to hear the details of the cruelty.

"Justice has been done and this guy's been removed from local politics," he said.

"The guy's obviously got problems and being a councillor has not helped him. He's done nothing for the constituency, he's done nothing for himself."

Mr Dredge continued: "All I'm thankful for is that Robert Payne is now out of the council. He's gone and we can start a new chapter in Keighley West."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
The Queen and the letter sent to Charlie
football
Arts and Entertainment
Eurovision Song Contest 2015
EurovisionGoogle marks the 2015 show
News
Two lesbians hold hands at a gay pride parade.
peopleIrish journalist shares moving story on day of referendum
Arts and Entertainment
<p>
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
</p>
<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
<p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
<p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
booksKathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
News
Liz Kendall played a key role in the introduction of the smoking ban
newsLiz Kendall: profile
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
Voices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?