Gardener, 69, who drowned his neighbour’s pet cat because it kept attacking birds and digging up carrots and leeks from his vegetable plot avoids jail
- Richard Giles, 69, grabbed hold of neighbour’s tabby cat Ruby and drowned it
- He admitted killing the pet, saying he was ‘driven to it’ as it was ‘ruining’ his crops
- Giles blamed neighbour Shirley Gear-Evans for training Ruby not to go for birds
- He was handed 12-week suspended sentence and ordered to pay Ms Gear-Evans £1,000 by Weymouth Magistrates Court
An irate gardener who drowned his neighbour’s cat because it kept attacking birds and digging up his vegetable patch has escaped jail.
Retired businessman Richard Giles put tabby cat Ruby in a sack and then held her in a water butt on his property until she was dead.
He later dumped her body in a ditch.
When Ruby’s worried owner, Shirley Gear-Evans, asked Giles if he had seen her pet after two days of searching for her, the 69-year-old told her ‘you won’t find her. I’ve killed her.’
Giles later blamed Ms Gear-Evans for Ruby’s demise, telling RSPCA investigators the widow should have trained her not to go after birds.
Richard Giles, 69, has escaped jail after he admitted drowning his neighbour’s cat after catching the tabby ‘ruining’ his garden vegetable patch in the village of Adber, near Sherborne in Dorset
Today Giles appeared before magistrates in Weymouth, Dorset, to be sentenced for animal cruelty.
He was handed a 12 week prison sentence suspended for 12 months by magistrates.
He must also pay £1,000 in compensation to 65-year-old Ms Gear-Evans for the loss of her beloved cat. A court heard that she doesn’t feel safe to get another cat while Giles is her neighbour.
Ruby the tabby cat was drowned after she ‘ruined’ Richard Giles’ vegetable patch
The court heard that Giles became fed-up with Ruby coming onto his £1m property in the village of Adber, Dorset, and causing a nuisance.
He and his late wife Judy had created a wildlife haven in their garden for birds and he became angry whenever the cat attacked them.
Giles was also annoyed at Ruby for ruining his seed bed in his garden.
The last straw came on September 19 last year when he found Ruby in his kitchen after he had left some food out. He caught her and killed her.
Matthew Knight, prosecuting, said Giles fell out his Ms Gear-Evans after he discovered she had taken in a rescue cat to keep her company in her retirement.
Mr Knight said: ‘On September 21st she bumped into the defendant and asked if he knew where Ruby was. He told her ‘well you won’t find her, she’s gone, I killed her’.
‘He said he tried calling her on the 19th to tell her what had happened and there was a blocked number call at 8.27 that day.
‘In interview he fully admitted he had drowned the cat in his water butt and dumped the body in a ditch. He said he killed her because he was concerned with germs and the effect of the cat on local birds.
‘He criticised the owner for getting her from a rescue centre and criticised her for not training the cat.
‘It is clear Mr Giles was under the impression his actions were justified.’
Vet Katrina Knill said that Ruby would have suffered terrible stress.
She said: ‘In my opinion death by drowning is a cause of extreme and unnecessary suffering to an animal and one of the most distressing states in which to see an animal.
Ruby’s owner, Shirley Gear-Evans, said she searched for her cat for two days before she confronted her neighbour, who has never apologised for drowning the pet
‘In water an animal will either hold its breath or its airway goes into spasm. Both cases are extremely stressful and cause the animal to thrash around.
‘When the animal is exhausted and no longer able to hold its breath, water rushes in. Brain activity continues for around three minutes prior to death.’
In a victim impact statement Ms Gear-Evans, a retired NHS manager, said the event had a ‘huge impact’ on her life.
She said: ‘I am now looking at making security arrangements and the police have advised me to take out a civil injunction. I no longer feel I can have another cat.’
Des Reynolds, defending, said Giles was a successful businessman and had employed up to 35 people before selling his company Adber Weld and Crane Hire at the age of 47.
Ruby was drowned in the grounds of Adber Court, near Sherborne in Dorset. Villagers have been left shocked by the death, with one branding Giles a ‘disturbed b******’
He was of previous good character and references described him as a ‘true countryman’ and much respected member of the community.
Mr Reynolds said: ‘He is about as amiable a man as you could wish to meet.
‘He built this house and outbuildings as a kind of haven for wildlife, creating habitats for birds in particular.
‘That’s a huge irony at the heart of this case – he is charged with animal cruelty and he has a passion for wildlife.
‘What he did was ill-judged, wrong and he will have to face the consequences.
‘The final straw came last September when he found the cat in the kitchen where he had his food out.
‘Out of complete exasperation, he put it onto a sack and held it under water.
Magistrate Richard MacRae said: ‘It is a very serious offence and has caused a lot of distress, not just to the owner but to the general public as well by all accounts.’
Giles, who pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal at a previous hearing, was also told to pay court costs of £728 costs.
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