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Amersham horse trader on bail pending appeal

June 17, 2009

British horse trader James John Gray, jailed for 24 weeks for neglect of horses in his care, has been released on bail pending an appeal.

A judge's decision to grant Gray bail means he has so far served four days of his sentence.

A condition of bail is that he does not keep, deal in, or transport horses.

Gray, 45, was jailed last Friday by Judge Andrew Vickers following his conviction on 11 charges over his care of horses on Spindles Farm, in Amersham, Buckinghamshire. Gray was also ordered by Judge Vickers to pay £400,000 in costs.

Charities that swooped on the property early in 2008 have described horror scenes that greeted them.

They removed more than 100 horses and found the bodies of more than 30 on the property. The cost of caring for the surviving horses has been put at close to £1 million by two of the charities involved.

It is believed to have been the largest equine welfare operation in British history.

Gray has been bailed by Judge Christopher Tyrer in the Oxford Crown Court while it considers an appeal against his conviction and prison sentence.

Four members of his immediate family - wife, Julie, 42, daughters Cordelia, 21, and Jodie, 26, and son James junior, 16 - are also under to be appealing lesser convictions under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

James Gray's son, James Gray Junior, 16, was ordered to complete an 18-month supervision order and was banned from keeping equines for 10 years. He cannot appeal this ban for five years.

Wife Julie Gray, 42, and daughters Jodie Gray, 26, and Cordelia Gray, 21, were also banned from keeping equines for 10 years, which they cannot appeal for five years, and were ordered to complete 150 hours of community service each over 12 months.

Julie Gray was also ordered to pay £750 in costs, and Jodie Gray and Cordelia Gray £500 each.

District Judge Andrew Vickers said of James John Gray during sentencing: "I know you have a strong background with equines so it is all the more sad that you stand convicted. It is something your father and grandfather would be ashamed of."



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