Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Jamie Gray of Spindles Farm: UKs Worst Equine Cruelty Case

Horse trainer jailed for shameful animal cruelty is free after just four days behind bars

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 4:07 PM on 16th June 2009

Horse trainer James Gray is free on bail after serving just four days of a six-month sentence for animal cruelty

Shamed horse trader Jamie Gray was back at home on his farm today after serving just four days of a six month prison sentence for animal cruelty.

The 45-year-old was jailed last Friday for cruelty to horses which the RSPCA described as one of the worst neglect cases it had ever seen.

But today Gray returned to live at his farm in Buckinghamshire where the cruelty took place after he was granted bail after Judge Christopher Tyrer heard he lodged an appeal against his convictions and prison sentence.

However, the professional horse trader was only released provided he does not keep or have any dealings with horses while he is at his farm.

Gray was jailed for six months after being convicted on May 8, of 11 charges of animal neglect in relation to dozens of horses, ponies and donkeys in his care.

Earlier, at the same hearing at Aylesbury Magistrates' Court, Bucks., Jamie Gray junior, aged 16, was banned from keeping equines for 10 years and placed under an 18-month supervision order which will see him monitored by youth offending officers.

Julie Gray, 42, and her daughters Jodie, 26, and Cordelia, 21, were all banned from keeping horses ponies and donkeys for 10 years and ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.

District Judge Andrew Vickers ordered them to pay costs, with Mrs Gray ordered to pay £750 and her daughters £500 each to estimated RSPCA prosecution costs of £34,000.

Their father was saddled with an RSPCA bill of £400,000.

RSPCA inspectors lead horses away from Spindles Farm, in Buckinghamshire

Immediately after the sentencings, legal representatives for all five lodged appeals against both convictions and sentences.

District Judge Vickers suspended all elements of the sentences until after the appeal, apart from Jamie Gray snr's jail term.

Today, at the bail hearing at Aylesbury Crown Court, Judge Tyrer heard submissions from Iain O'Donnell, for the RSPCA, and Nigel Weller, for Gray.

The judge described the case as 'substantial' and said that although the appeal would not take as long as the original 55-day trial, it would still last a number of weeks and would take time to prepare for.

With Gray likely to be released after serving 12 weeks - half of his prison sentence, he would have completed his incarceration before the appeal against it could be heard.

He said: 'The whole case has to be heard all over again, with a judge and justices.

'It is not fair and it is contrary to jurisprudence in this country and Europe, for a person to effectively serve a sentence before an appeal is heard.

One of the emaciated horses rescued from the farm in what RSPCA staff said was one of the worst cases of animal neglect they had ever seen

'Therefore the only conclusion is that bail must be granted but it must be granted on terms.'

He added: 'Mr Gray is not to keep or to have any dealings with horses. If that is not acceptable, then bail will not be granted.'

The judge also ordered that after his release from prison, Gray must live and sleep at Spindle Farm and is not allowed to keep or deal with horses.

Gray was not in court for the brief hearing but remained at Woodhill Prison, near Milton Keynes, Bucks.

He was represented by barrister Mr Weller, who accepted the bail terms on his behalf.

The appeal is expected to be heard before a special sitting of a Crown Court judge and two magistrates at Bicester Magistrates' Court, Oxon.


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