kitten killer animal ban appeal dismissed

York Crown Court

York Crown Court

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A man who killed four kittens has failed in his bid to overturn a lifetime ban on keeping animals.

John Akrill, 48, from Whitby, strangled the kittens, hit them over the head with a hammer and dumped their bodies in a wheelie bin.

His brutality was a revenge act against his ex-partner, from whom he had recently split and who was deeply fond of the kittens.

Earlier this year, Scarborough magistrates jailed Akrill for 20 weeks and banned him from keeping animals for life after he admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the eight-week-old kittens on August 16 last year.

He launched an appeal against the ban, claiming he killed the kittens because they had cat flu and he didn’t want them to suffer or pass on the virus to other animals and couldn’t drive to a vet for medical reasons

The former pig farmer, of Great Fryup Dale, appeared at York Crown Court on Friday for the resumption of his appeal. Animal-rights activists gathered on the steps of the Georgian building with placards and banners, calling for the ban to be upheld and venting their fury at Akrill’s barbarity.

Mr Boumphrey said before the killings, Akrill, a father-of-one, sent spiteful texts to his ex-partner threatening to have the kittens “put down”.

Akrill, who was released from prison at the end of May, disputed this and claimed he was an animal-lover.

Defence barrister Laura Addy said that a lifetime ban would make it hard for Akrill to find employment because he had worked with animals all his life.

But Judge Kearl dismissed Akrill’s claim that the killings were an act of mercy, citing a veterinary report which confirmed that none of the kittens had cat flu.

He told Akrill: “These kittens were slaughtered for no obvious reason in a callous manner.”

He formally dismissed Akrill’s appeal and postponed a decision on whether he should pay costs.