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Horse trader gets two months added to sentence

May 28, 2010

by Laurie Dixon

British horse trader James Gray, his appeals quashed and his time on the run over, is off to jail for eight months.

Gray, 46, had another two months added to the 26-week jail sentence he received for his cruel ill-treatment of more than 100 horses at his property near Amersham, in Buckinghamshire.

Authorities removed 111 horses from Spindles Farm early in 2008 in what was believed to be the biggest equine rescue operation in British history.

Gray and other members of his family were convicted over the treatment of the horses. He received the heaviest sentence - 24 weeks in jail.

However, he was released after four days because his family filed appeals against conviction and sentence.

A majority of the charges against the family were upheld on appeal and two weeks ago Gray faced re-sentencing before Judge Christopher Tyrer.

However, he absconded from court during the lunch break and did not appear for sentence, during which the judge increased the sentence to 26 weeks.

A warrant was issued for his arrest and he was found by police at a routine vehicle checkpoint early yesterday (NZ time).

His counsel told the judge that Gray had left the court because he had been overcome by nerves.

Judge Tyrer said said Gray's final act of betrayal was "of yourself, by yourself".

RSPCA chief inspector Rob Skinner said after the hearing: "I'm pleased the police tracked Gray down and that he is now serving a sentence which reflects the severity of the cruelty suffered by so many horses, ponies and donkeys.

"This investigation has been one of our biggest ever and has so far cost the RSPCA more than £2.3 million, including veterinary treatment and care of the rescued horses."

The Grays' Spindles Farm is for sale.

 

 

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