WARNING GRAPHIC IMAGES: Nottinghamshire man killed cat by hitting it over head with hammer

The straw case where Lupo was buried.
The straw case where Lupo was buried.

A Nottinghamshire man who killed his cat by hitting her over the head with a hammer three times has been spared jail.

The cat, called Lupo, could be heard screaming by neighbours during the early morning attack on July 4 last year in the garden of a house on Mulberry Gardens, Bulwell.

Lupo’s owner Adrian Straw, 54, appeared at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court today (Friday) to be sentenced, after he pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to two Animal Welfare Act offences of causing unnecessary suffering to the cat and for failing to meet her needs.

Magistrates were told that Straw had owned Lupo for 14 years.

Prosecutor Paul Wright told the court: “It was 5.50am and his neighbour could hear him shouting and the cat screaming. When she looked out of her window she sees Mr Straw knelt down with his back to her. He has a hammer in his hand and she can see Lupo on the ground. Lupo’s legs are shaking so she knows that he is still alive.

“She sees Mr Straw hit Lupo with a hammer three times. She shouted out of the window at him and said, ‘What are you doing?’ to which Mr Straw replied, ‘She bit me’.”

The RSPCA was contacted following the incident and when Inspector Laura Kirkham went to Straw’s house, he initially denied the allegations.

But Lupo’s body was exhumed from Straw’s garden and a post-mortem examination showed that Lupo had suffered from blunt force trauma to her skull which led to her death.

An examination of her body also showed that she had severely overgrown claws which had curled under into the pads of her feet.

In a formal interview with an RSPCA inspector, Straw admitted that he had used the hammer to make sure she was dead before burying her after he found her at 3.30am “twitching”.

Mr Wright told the magistrates: “He said he believed she was dying but this is far from a humane way of dealing with it.”

When asked by the magistrates why he used a hammer, Straw said: “It’s a horrible incident and I am very sorry about it. I don’t know what happened, I was under a lot of stress and I just snapped.”

Magistrates disqualified Straw from keeping animals for life, gave him a 12-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months, and ordered him to pay costs of £787.50 and a victim surcharge of £118.

RSPCA inspector Laura Kirkham, who investigated the case, said: “This has been a very unpleasant job to deal with from the start. Due to conflicting comments from her owner, I will never know the real motives behind what happened or whether Lupo was conscious or not when this incident occurred - I sincerely hope it was the latter.

“Clearly subjecting Lupo to blows to the head with a hammer is completely inappropriate and if there were any concerns for her health then either an emergency vet or ourselves should have been contacted for advice or help.

“Furthermore, some of her claws had become so overgrown that they had penetrated her pads and had grown into almost a complete circle. This would clearly have been causing her a great deal of pain and discomfort, particularly as this was on both of her front paws.”