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dog eat dog Man who 'kidnapped' ex-partner's dog says he won't give it back, despite court findings

"It's my dog, I named it after my grandfather. She knows it's my dog and if it ever came to a contest between her and the dog, the dog wins every single time."

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Ian Hamilton

Ian Hamilton

Ian Hamilton

A man who 'kidnapped' his ex-partner's dog says he won't be giving it back, despite being found guilty of stealing it.

Ian David Hamilton was convicted last week of harassing his former partner and stealing her dog Bobby - but he claims he's got "ruff" treatment.

Derry Magistrates Court was told the 51-year-old of Glenshane Road, Drumahoe, had let himself into his partner's house with a spare key and taken the four-year-old Bichon terrier mix.

The court was told the relationship had turned sour and Hamilton, who represented himself, cross-examined his ex and was told by her it had been "the worst two years of my life".

Bizarrely, he returned to his ex's home where he put a series of notes through her letterbox and taunted her by holding the dog up to the window.

Giving evidence during his contest hearing, she told the court she was concerned about Bobby's welfare and that she wouldn't have given Hamilton a pet rat to look after.

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Ian Hamilton

Ian Hamilton

Ian Hamilton

But this week, when confronted by the Sunday World, a defiant Hamilton said the dog was his.

"It's my dog, I named it after my grandfather. She knows it's my dog and if it ever came to a contest between her and the dog, the dog wins every single time.

"The truth is I loved the dog more than her. Dogs form bonds and Bobby was one of nine pups and he formed a bond with me. He's my dog. How could I be convicted of stealing my own dog?

"I don't care what the judge says, I'll not be giving him back. She [ex-partner] might come after me in a civil case to get it back but I'll fight it all the way."

During our conversation with Hamilton he begged us not to run the story as he was involved in "pioneering breakthrough" scientific research which could change the way cancer is treated.

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He also claimed he had been involved in secret investigations into terrorism across the world and had written a book which he described as the "Satanic Verses on the IRA".

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Hamilton with Sunday World’s Steven Moore

Hamilton with Sunday World’s Steven Moore

Hamilton with Sunday World’s Steven Moore

Describing himself as a polymath - someone whose knowledge spans a substantial number of subjects - he said his "obsessive" work in cancer research had put a strain on the couple's relationship.

"My reputation is important to me and, believe it or not, it's important to you too," he said on his doorstep on Wednesday morning.

"I am working on a device since 2011 which could take the guesswork out of cancer and how we detect live tumour cells.

"This work consumed me.

"I was also involved in open source investigations including Bellingcat and became involved in investigating the plane supposedly shot down by the Russians over Ukraine a few years ago.

"My ex told me all I cared about was cancer and Russia. She jumped the gun.

"All I wanted was an apology which I was owed. After I took the dog I was demonised on social media with messages saying I would harm the dog.

"I was targeted by dissident republicans who accused me of working for MI5 which is complete nonsense.

"All I wanted to do was live my life in peace. I went to her dad's house to speak to him but the police arrested me afterwards."

During his botched self-representation in court, Hamilton tried to claim his work in terrorism and cancer research was relevant to his case.

He told the court he was involved in "developing a medical device about the bio-banking of waste tumour tissue cells", as he accused his former partner of two years of demonising him and of being evil, cruel and callous towards him.

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A Bichon terrier — the same breed of dog that Hamilton took

A Bichon terrier — the same breed of dog that Hamilton took

A Bichon terrier — the same breed of dog that Hamilton took

But District Judge Barney McElholm told Hamilton: "Your idea of evidence and my idea of evidence are two different things and the problem for you is - it's my idea that counts."

Hamilton had denied harassing her in 2018 and of stealing the puppy from her Ivy Terrace home.

In her evidence, the woman said her relationship with Hamilton was not a healthy one for either of them and she decided to end it in June 2018.

She said after the relationship had ended the defendant took Bobby from her home but returned later and put notes through her letterbox while holding the dog up to the front window of her home.

She also said Hamilton followed her when she was walking other dogs.

She said: "I sent him a text that the relationship was over. He replied he was going to go to my home and take Bobby.

"I told him not to enter my home and not to remove Bobby from my home. He still had a key to my home. When I returned home from work Bobby was missing. I texted him telling him to return Bobby otherwise I would tell the police."

Cross-examined by Hamilton, who admitted "I am an amateur at this", the woman said her time with him "were the worst two years of my life" and she added: "I wouldn't give you a pet rat to look after".

The District Judge said the hearing was "descending into a farce" and said the defendant was "unable to get a solicitor who would be willing to represent you".

He told the defendant that instead of taking the opportunity to cross-examine the complainant, he had "used your time talking about irrelevancies".

Hamilton, who said he had received "threats from terrorist circles" because of the case, said: "Bobby sleeps beside me on the pillow every night. We're very close."

Mr McElholm said he'd "heard enough" and added there was clear evidence to convict the defendant of the harassment charge.

In relation to stealing Bobby the puppy, the District Judge said: "I do not regard the defendant as a thief in the general sense, but he took this dog without permission."

Hamilton told the Sunday World he was considering appealing the case and had been given 14 days to decide.

steven.moore@sundayworld.com

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