Nicola Bradley, 35, and Tracy Dixon, 47, doused Paul Crooks’s beloved pet Sparky in cleaning products and put her in a tumble drier before breaking her neck
Two women have been jailed for torturing and killing an ex-soldier’s African grey parrot after a boozy night out.
Nicola Bradley, 35, and Tracy Dixon, 47, doused Paul Crooks’s beloved pet Sparky in cleaning products and put her in a tumble drier before breaking her neck. They were on Tuesday jailed for 25 months at Carlisle Crown Court after previously being found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.
Magistrates previously heard Mr Crooks cried after the death of the bird, which would entertain him with renditions of the national anthem and the Coronation Street theme tune. Prosecutor Daniel Bramhall told today’s sentencing hearing the cruel pair daubed the bird with gloss paint and covered her with shaving foam and Mr Muscle polish.
They then threw her into a switched on tumble drier before one of them – said in court to have been Bradley – snapped its neck. As they left the house where they did this, they told Sparky’s unsuspecting owner they’d been “wetting themselves” with laughter,” though they did not say why.
Judge Richard Archer told the two women: “You together sadistically tortured and essentially killed Sparky. The way in which suffering was caused to that animal is shocking.
“It involved spraying her with cleaning products; it involved daubing paint on her; and it involved hitting her with a tea towel. It involved placing her in a tumble drier and turning it on and it involved, once the door to the tumbler drier was opened and Sparky was gasping for her last breath, one of you ringing her neck.”
The women made no effort to explain to Mr Crooks why they had done what they did and they sought to blame each other, the court heard. The judge added: “It is frankly beyond comprehension how anyone could treat an animal in this way, let alone in your case, Miss Dixon, someone who it is said took in animals, rescue animals, subjected to suffering at the hands of others.”
Jack Troupe, for Bradley, said she maintained her denial of wrongdoing. Anthony Parkinson, for Dixon, said character references referred to her having a more kindly attitude to animals than the offending suggested. She had taken in rescue animals and cared for them in the past, the barrister told the court.
Mr Parkinson went on: “She maintains that her co-defendant was the primary offender in this case but she accepts the verdict of the magistrates court.”
During the trial before Magistrates, Mr Crooks described his horror at finding Sparky dead shortly after Bradley and Dixon left his home on July 30 last year. He’d allowed the women, who had enjoyed a boozy night out together in Carlisle, Cumbria, to stay at his home after giving them a lift from the city centre.
Describing his pet, Mr Crooks said Sparky was a gift from a former partner and had lived with him for five years. They all loved her and looked forward to seeing her, he said. Since his bird was killed, he had suffered panic attacks and sleepless nights.
He said of Sparky: “She used to sing a regimental march, combined with God Save the Queen, and the Coronation Street and Emmerdale theme tunes. She was a hit with friends as she’d start singing when I talked to them on video calls around the world.”
He told the court that Dixon called him at 5.30am on the morning in question as they couldn’t get a taxi home from a night out. He gave them a lift, but went to bed shortly after bringing the women home because he’d been working all week. The women were drunk, he said.
When he woke at 8.30am and went to the kitchen to make a coffee, Bradley told him he would be “foaming” with them as she looked towards Sparky’s cage. Judge Archer said he had seen the photo of Sparky after she was killed, in which she was “unrecognisable.”
He added: “This is a case where appropriate punishment can only be achieved by immediate custody. If an immediate prison sentence were not warranted or required for the deliberate, sadistic torture to death of an animal, then one can not imagine a case where it would be appropriate to impose an immediate custodial sentence.”
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