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Convictions upheld in Britain's horror neglect case

May 7, 2010

by Laurie Dixon

Horse trader James Gray has had convictions against him arising from one of the biggest horse rescue operations in Britain upheld by a British Court.

Blakey, pictured above after being rescued from Spindles Farm. Blakey was rehabilitated by World Horse Welfare - his "after" shot is below.

James Gray lost his appeal against convictions for animal welfare offences in a decision delivered early today (NZ time).

Gray, his wife, Julie Gray, 42, and daughters Jodie and Cordelia Gray, aged 27 and 21 respectively, were also unsuccessful in their appeals over the treatment of more than 100 horses at Spindles Farm, in Amersham, Buckinghamshire.

James Gray Junior, 17, was acquitted of two charges on appeal, but convictions on the rest were upheld.

James Gray Senior had received the heaviest sentence in the case, receiving a 24-week jail sentence. He was banned from keeping horses, ponies and donkeys for life and was also ordered to pay £400,000 in costs.

However, the court's decision does not yet mean a recall to prison for Gray, who served only four days before his release, pending the outcome of his appeals.

While his appeal against conviction has been dismissed, his appeal against sentence will be held on Wednesday next week in Aylesbury Crown Court.

In a judgment delivered in the court today, Judge Christopher Tyrer said: "We are satisfied that these horses were neglected and starved. It follows that the appellants [James Gray and James Gray Junior] failed to exercise reasonable care and supervision in respect of their protection and they knew or ought reasonably to have known that this would have that effect ...

"We have found that all the appellants were responsible for all these animals and that they knew what was happening on the premises and took no action to alleviate the problems."

A still from the video below.
Referring to James Gray Senior, he added: "We are satisfied that, at the time [the RSPCA] visited Spindles Farm in January 2008, these animals were not being fed or watered adequately or at all ... he sought neither assistance nor veterinary attention to his animals and was still acquiring even more animals from outside, despite being unable to look after them or those he had already brought to the premises."

RSPCA inspector Kirsty Hampton, who investigated the case, said: "We're pleased the extent of the cruelty, neglect and suffering endured by the animals in this case has been recognised - and also the RSPCA's hard work and experience, which was crucial in successfully bringing the case to court."



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