Animal cruelty | 

Derry man who strangled pet cat to death and sent video to his mother jailed for 10 months

Andrew Coyle (25), from Deramore Drive in Derry, admitted committing the offences on February 5 this year

Derry Magistrates' Court Pic: PA

George JacksonBelfast Telegraph

A man who admitted strangling his pet cat to death with a cable and then sending a video of his actions to his mother has been jailed for 10 months.

Andrew Coyle (25), from Deramore Drive in Derry, admitted committing the offences on February 5 this year.

Appearing at Derry Magistrates’ Court, he pleaded guilty to cruelty of the cat, by actively mistreating the animal, and to improperly using a public communications network, by sending the video to his mother.

A prosecution solicitor told District Judge Oonagh Mullan that on February 5 the defendant’s mother phoned the police and said she had received a video from her son of his dead cat.

She believed he was high on drugs and when he tried to show her the video she turned away from her mobile phone.

When police officers arrived at Coyle’s home, the defendant told them he had strangled the cat to death using a length of cable and he had put the remains in a black bin bag.

The officers believed he was under the influence of drugs due to his slurred speech and being unsteady on his feet.

The police found the cat’s remains inside a white plastic bag in the bin bag.

Coyle was arrested and medically examined. A forensic medical officer noted his pupils were dilated and, due to Coyle’s behaviour, believed the defendant was under the influence of stupefying substances.

When the police showed him the video he had sent his mother, Coyle said: “Look what I’ve done.”

The prosecutor said: “The cat looked up at him as he was strangling it. It was as if he was getting pleasure from it and it was like an adrenalin rush.

“He waited until the cat had died and then cut the cable off it. The defendant then started crying.”

During his police interview Coyle said he could not remember killing the cat and told the officers he had anxiety and mental health issues.

Defence barrister Sean Doherty said the circumstances of the case, plus Coyle’s behaviour, were alarming and distressing.

He said Coyle believed his mental health issues were not being treated seriously and, in some form of misguided way, he thought if he acted outside of social norms he would get the attention of the mental health services.

“He knows he deserves a prison sentence for his behaviour and he expects one today,” the barrister said.

“He is extremely remorseful for his behaviour and he believes he deserves a custodial sentence.”

District Judge Oonagh Mullan described Coyle’s offending as hideous and horrendous.

She said it was also extremely worrying that his criminal record contained convictions for violent offending.

She then jailed Coyle for 10 months, placed a restraining order on him in relation to contacting his mother for two years, and disqualified him from owning or keeping animals for the next five years.

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