A County Armagh man appeared in court today (Saturday) accused of breaking a kitten’s leg because it poo’d in his hallway.
In addition to being charged with causing unnecessary suffering and criminal damage to the kitten, 24-year-old Jordan Russell was also accused of a catalogue of domestic violence from August 1, this year, including allegations that he twice choked his partner until she lost consciousness.
Appearing at Lisburn Magistrates’ Court by videolink from police custody, Russell, originally from Dover in southern England but with an address at Union Street in Lurgan, was charged with four counts of causing actual bodily harm, witness intimidation, causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and causing criminal damage to the kitten.
Giving evidence during a contested bail application, Constable Dalzell said police enquiries initially began on October 17 when police were asked to go to the defendant’s address and although she was initially “very evasive,” she eventually told them how Russell “lost the plot on finding the kitten had poo’d in the hallway.”
She described how Russell was “behaving extremely aggressively in the hallway and she could hear the kitten screeching out in pain and hear him shouting ‘breath Sammy’.”
According to the woman, the kitten was not breathing but when police arrived, while it was breathing “it was soaking wet and couldn’t stand.”
A vet examined the kitten and found it had a fractured hind leg, head trauma and shock, injuries which were consistent with “striking or kicking the kitten.”
While the woman did initially attend the police station to make a statement, she received “six or seven phone calls from the defendant and his mother” and she left without making a formal statement.
Two days later however, she did make a formal complaint, where in addition to the allegations about Sammy the kitten, she claimed Russell had choked her until she passed out on two occasions, had punched her repeatedly in the face causing a black eye in another incident and assaulted her on another occasion.
The court heard that on Friday, staff at the Bluestone mental health unit had contacted police to ask them to remove Russell from the unit because of his “volatile behaviour” and Constable Dalzell said police were objecting to bail due to fears that he would commit further offences or interfere with the complainant, revealing how there had been “24 domestic reports” since May.
Under cross examination from defence counsel Damien Halleron, the officer agreed that Russell had denied all of the offences during police interviews and conceded that a previous prosecution for assault had been withdrawn by the PPS because the complainant had withdrawn her evidence.
The barrister told the court that according to Russell, “he wants nothing to do” with the complainant so with an exclusion zone to keep him away from her and the locks changed at his address, along with any other conditions, that he could be freed on bail.
“I’m afraid I disagree,” said District Judge Amanda Brady, “I have no confidence that if I release him that he will adhere to bail and there’s a risk of further offences and interference.”
“I think it’s all too soon, the dust needs to settle,” concluded the judge who refused bail, remanded Russell into custody and adjourned the case to November 5.