Horse Trader ‘James Gray’ from Spindles Farm On The Run As Appeal Against Sentence Fails (UK)
Please see important info below.
Any intelligence on this vile man’s whereabouts please contact the Police and the RSPCA Press office immediately-
For video footage of what the Gray family have done:
WARNING – ANIMAL SUFFERING - http://amershamhorses.com/category/court-case/
RSPCA press office direct lines: 0300 123 0244/0288
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For further information, please contact RSPCA press office on 0300 123 0244/0288.
Further info and articles -
Wednesday 12 May 2010
Horse Trader On The Run As Appeal Against Sentence Fails
An arrest warrant has been issued after horse trader James Gray absconded from Court. Gray had been at Aylesbury Crown Court earlier today as both he and his family were hearing their Appeal against sentence.
After breaking to consider the sentences, the Court reconvened this afternoon. It was then that staff realised James Gray was missing, leaving his family to hear their own verdicts. He was sentenced in his absence to a six-month term (26 weeks) in prison for cruelty to more than 100 horses, ponies and donkeys.
James Gray Junior (17) has to complete a 18-month supervision order and is banned from keeping equines for 10 years.
Gray’s wife Julie (42) and daughters Jodie (27) and Cordelia Gray (21) were also unsuccessful in their appeals. They will each have to complete 150 hours of community service and are banned from keeping equines for 10 years¹.
A further decision on costs is to be heard at a later date.
Recorder of Aylesbury, His Honour Christopher Tyrer said during the hearing at Aylesbury Crown Court: “The court has listened to a horrendous case of animal cruelty. It is the worst case experienced by the RSPCA on a scale which beggars belief. The RSPCA faced a calamity of huge proportions – they were neglected, starved, emaciated and living in squalor and the horses were hungry, thirsty dejected and miserable. The business of which you were all party to was concerned only with profit. Animal welfare did not figure at all and you have shown no remorse.”
RSPCA inspector Kirsty Hampton, who was commended by the Judge in investigating the case, said: “I’m pleased that the severity of the cruelty suffered by so many horses, ponies and donkeys has been reflected in the sentences the Gray family received.
“This investigation has been one of our biggest ever and has so far cost the RSPCA more than £1million, including veterinary treatment and care of the rescued horses. It is thanks to the RSPCA’s hard work and expertise that this case has successfully been brought to court.
“I would like to thank the Horse Trust, Redwings and World Horse Welfare for caring for many of the horses, ponies and donkeys removed from Spindle Farm.”
On Thursday 6 June 2010 James Gray, along with Julie, Jodie and Cordelia, lost their appeals against their animal welfare convictions. James Gray Junior was acquitted on two charges, but convicted of the rest.2
The family was prosecuted after RSPCA inspectors discovered more than 100 horses, ponies and donkeys and the bodies of a further 32 equines at Spindle Farm near Amersham between Friday 4 and Wednesday 9 January 2008.
Inspector Hampton described the conditions that the horses were kept in as ‘grotesque’.
She said: “When we arrived at the farm we were confronted with an extremely distressing scene. The stench of decomposition and urine was overpowering. The sight of horses left in such a miserable state will stay with me forever and I hope I never have to see animals treated with such little care and compassion again.”
Officers from World Horse Welfare, Redwings Horse Sanctuary, vets and Thames Valley Police worked alongside the RSPCA in very difficult conditions to rescue the surviving animals from the terrible scene.
Many of the animals had little food or dry bedding and were crammed into pens, ankle deep in faeces. Other horses had simply been left to die where they fell and then, surrounded by their companions, decomposed. Further carcasses were discovered in surrounding fields, some burned on bonfires, and there was a pile of bones and a skull against an outbuilding.
The court had previously heard how, prior to this case, the RSPCA successfully prosecuted James Gray in 2006 for causing unnecessary suffering to a horse. On that occasion he was fined £3,500 and ordered to pay £7,871 in costs by Hemel Hempstead Magistrates Court. He was not disqualified from keeping animals.
Notes to editors:
1. James Gray, his wife Julie Gray, son James Gray Junior and daughter Cordelia Gray are from Spindle Farm, Hyde Heath, Amersham, Buckinghamshire. Cordelia’s sister Jodie Gray is from Park Road, Ashford, Middlesex.
2. All five defendants appealed against charges of neglect and cruelty under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Two of the charges were dismissed during the appeal hearing, and James Gray Junior was acquitted of a further two. The rest were upheld.
3. In May 2009 James Gray (46) and James Gray Junior were found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to 40 equines after a 12-week trial, brought by the RSPCA. Along with James Gray’s wife Julie and daughters Jodie and Cordelia, they were also found guilty of failing to meet the welfare needs of a further 114 equines.
Photographs and footage are available. For these, or to arrange interviews, please contact the RSPCA press office on 0300 123 0244 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Past SAV posts relating to this case: