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Drug user who beat defenceless puppy to death told he will be jailed if he uses again

Kyle Keegan was told if he doesn't stop taking drugs he will go to jail

Kyle Keegan

Paul Higgins

An alcoholic druggie who was so out of it he can’t remember beating a defenceless puppy to death has been warned to stop taking drugs “or go to jail.”

“That’s the choice,” District Judge Bernie Kelly told 27-year-old Kyle Keegan, “your drugs has to stop TODAY….it’s either no drugs or prison, that’s your choice”.

Keegan, from Gilpin’s Manor in Lurgan, was due to be sentenced at Craigavon Magistrates Court for possessing class C pregabalin, a prescription only pain killer, on 16 July last year.

DJ Kelly revealed that according to the probation pre-sentence report, Keegan is still abusing cannabis on a daily basis and had turned up for his probation interview “unsteady on his feet,” blaming medication prescribed by his GP for his condition.

Kyle Keegan

Having heard that Keegan is now working for a local scaffolding firm, the judge said if that were the case “he would be a danger to himself and other co-workers”.

“I don’t accept the explanation provided to probation because I think that any GP who would be prescribing any prescribed medication to the extent it renders you in the shape you were in when you went to probation, especially given your job at work, I doubt if they would do that,” said the judge.

Defence counsel David McKeown submitted that Keegan had “taken his first steps” to halting his drug abuse and being a productive member of society by holding down a job, suggesting that the case “maybe appropriate for a deferral.”

Keegan hit the headlines three years ago when he was jailed for 15 months by Judge Neil Rafferty QC after he heard that Keegan was so drunk and high, he had “no memory” at all of using a claw hammer to stove in the skull of 11-week-old cross breed puppy Sparky in February 2018.

Keegan had consumed “very substantial amounts” of alcohol and drugs while at a party at the home of Ellen Hoy in Ailsbury Park in Lurgan.

While she went to visit her Dad, leaving little Sparky supposedly safe in his crate in the front hallway, Keegan armed himself with a hammer and bludgeoned the little dog to death, spattering the walls, hammer and his t-shirt with the puppy’s blood.

It was that blood spattering, coupled with DNA evidence that damned Keegan.

A day before he was due to go on trial, he lodged an eleventh hour guilty plea to causing unnecessary suffering to little Sparky whose body lay undiscovered, wrapped in a plastic bag, in a black wheelie bin for two days before his distraught owner found him.

Jailing Keegan for 15 months and ordering him to spend a further 15 months under supervised licence conditions, Judge Rafferty told Keegan his crime was “vile, violent and savage”.

“It is difficult to imagine how violence could be any more gratuitous than one meted out to an 11 week old, small breed puppy by the use, we know, of a claw hammer to stove it’s skull in,” said the Craigavon Crown Court Judge.

“Mr Keegan your actions towards this small and defenceless animal were barbaric. There is little that can be said that would express the horror of this small dogs death at your hands.“

Deferring the case to September 16, DJ Kelly told Keegan the conditions of the deferral were “no drugs,” that he isn’t to come to the afternoon of police “and I want an updated PSR.”

Explaining it to him “in words of one syllable,” she told him “your drug habit has to stop today and it ends completely".

“When I say no drugs, I mean no drugs, because even as much as a miniscule amount, will render you a prison sentence on 16 September.

“If you have managed no drugs, to stay out of trouble and I get a much more positive PSR, I will find a way to sentence you that does not result in the immediate loss of your liberty,” the judge told Keegan.

DJ Kelly warned him however that if he failed on any aspect, “you are going to prison so you can prepare yourself”.

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