Thurcroft: Man sentenced for killing kitten

A man who admitted killing a defenceless kitten has been given a 12-month community order but has escaped being banned from keeping animals.

Rodney Darwent, 48, of Heavygate Road in Sheffield, committed the offence in June at a house on Yew Tree Close in Thurcroft.

The court heard how Darwent and his partner had been arguing the previous night and that he had been drunk the next night, when the incident occurred.

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Prosecuting, Mr Brian Orsborne said: “His partner was in her room when she heard a thump.”

“She got up to see what it was and saw the cat lying on the stairs with blood on the wall two feet up from where it lay.”

“She went to pick the cat up and found it basically dying in her arms.”

“The police were called and Mr Darwent was then arrested and taken for questioning.”

“However, no charges were pressed as there was insufficient evidence.”

“The RSPCA then became involved and the vet they asked to examine the cat said the animal’s injuries had been caused by a kick.”

District Judge Mr Taaffe pointed to some conflicts in the vet’s evidence with that of the evidence from another expert witnesses, with one saying the cat’s injuries were caused by a kick and another saying they could have been caused by a squashing action.

“What is also the case, however, is that neither witness ruled out the other’s opinion as a cause of injury, both saying either was possible,” said Mr Taaffe.

“And what is in no doubt, in my mind, is that the kitten died as a result of Mr Darwent’s actions.”

Defending, Mr Matthew Burdon said: “Mr Darwent disagrees with the verdict in this case and feels complying with any community orders would be an admission of guilt.”

“However, he respects the court process and will comply with whatever he is asked to do.”

Sentencing, Mr Taaffe said: “It is my belief that you were frustrated at a breakdown in your relationship, and you were drunk, and you took out your frustration on the kitten.”

“I accept difficult circumstances that led to this and I believe you are an animal love so I will not be imposing any disqualification on you keeping animals as pets.

“However, what you did was unforgiveable.”

Darwent was given a 12-month community order to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work. He was also fined £560.