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Four guilty of animal abuse as foxhunting investigation concludes

A jury at Birmingham Crown Court has today found a man and a woman guilty of animal cruelty, following an investigation into the South Herefordshire Hunt.

The trial, which lasted, two weeks, concluded this afternoon after the jury returned guilty verdicts for two of the three defendants.

Julie Elmore, 55, from Abergavenny and Paul Reece, aged 48, from Itton, pleaded guilty to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to fox cubs earlier in the proceedings.

Paul Oliver, aged 40 and from Colchester, was found guilty of four charges of animal cruelty, Hannah Rose, aged 30 and from Peterborough, was found guilty of three charges and not guilty of one, and Nathan Parry aged 40 and from Abergavenny, was found not guilty of four counts of animal cruelty after live fox cubs were fed to hounds in May 2016.

Paul Oliver has been sentenced to 20 weeks suspended, reduced to 16 weeks concurrent for each charge. Hannah Rose has received a 12 week suspended sentence.  

Julie Elmore and Paul Reece received conditional discharge, taking into account their plea.

Superintendent Sue Thomas said: "This has been a long and complex investigation and has taken many hours of police work to achieve these verdicts.

"We hope that today's result demonstrates how seriously we take investigations relating to animal cruelty and how determined we are to bring perpetrators to justice.

"This should also send a strong message to those who choose to abuse our wildlife, that animal cruelty will not be tolerated."

The investigation, codenamed Operation Childer, began when CCTV footage was handed to the police, which showed fox cubs being fed to dogs at the hunt premises in Wormelow, Herefordshire.

This evidence, combined with forensic analysis carried out on the fox cubs, helped to convince the court they were alive at the time they were given to the hounds.

Supt Thomas said: "Throughout this investigation we have listened to various organisations and those who stand up for animal rights, and have taken the information passed to us very seriously.

"I hope the work of my team goes some way to reassuring members of the public that abuse against any animal, either pets or wild animals, will not be tolerated by West Mercia Police."

Anyone who has concerns about cruelty to animals or other crime going on in their area can report it in confidence via 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

You can also report via our website at: www.westmercia.police.uk

Posted at: 5.05pm, Monday, 10 June by CF, Corporate Communications

Published 10/06/19