Leeds & West Yorkshire

Ex-councillor Robert Payne jailed for killing kittens

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

Robert Payne, 36, who represented the Keighley West ward of Bradford Council in West Yorkshire swung the four-month-old cats round his house.

He broke their skulls and most of their limbs and decapitated two of them.

Payne, of Ethel Street, Keighley, was jailed for five months for animal cruelty with one month for breaching a suspended sentence for fraud.

Police and RSPCA officials found three kittens in a freezer and blood spread around the house.

Cat screaming

Payne, 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 15 November this year when she heard banging and the sound of a cat screaming.

"The police went inside and they were met with what the prosecution submit was an appalling scene.

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

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

'Unimaginable terror'

After the sentencing, Det Insp John Priestley said: "We welcome the conviction of Robert Payne for what were very serious and disturbing offences of animal cruelty.

"Officers who attended his address found distressing scenes inside in which injuries which can only be described as horrific had been inflicted on a number of cats at the property."

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."

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