Colin Sherlock, an Admitted Boozer and Dope Addict, Pulls Out All the Stops in His Unsuccessful Attempt to Torture Roxy to Death
"The offense is so serious that only custody is justified because of the high level of cruelty imposed on the cat, which was sustained over a period and involved three appliances. It caused serious harm and torture to a domestic cat, causing it lasting mental trauma."
-- Magistrate Marigold Seager-Berry
As every ailurophobe knows only too well, the means of abusing and killing cats are almost endless. For instance, some of them cook cats to death in microwave ovens whereas others scald them to death in washing machines and scorch them in driers. (See Cat Defender posts of September 22, 2005 and October 31, 2009 entitled, respectively, "College Students in South Africa Cook a Cat to Death in a Microwave Oven" and "Stefan W., Who Publicly Boasted of Scalding Kitty to Death in a Washing Machine, Is Let Off by a Berlin Court with a Measly Fine.")
Still others specialize in either freezing them to death or drowning them. (See Cat Defender posts of April 8, 2010 and July 3, 2006 entitled "Frozen Food Purveyor Knowingly Condemns Frosty to Spend Five Weeks in Its 28° Fahrenheit Warehouse Without Either Food or Water" and "Crooked Massachusetts Cops Allow Politician to Get Away with Attempting to Drown a Kitten Named Lucky Girl.")
Rarely, however, do abusers subject an individual cat to all four types of torture. Nevertheless, that was the sequence of horrific abuse visited upon a one-year-old tuxedo named Roxy from Teignmouth in Devon last April. (See photo of her above.)
While Roxy's unidentified owner, a seven-year-old boy was away, his uncle, forty-four-year-old Colin Sherlock from Third Avenue in nearby Dawlish, microwaved her for eight seconds, spun her around in a clothes drier for another seven seconds, locked her up in a freezer for twenty seconds and, to top it all off, submerged her in a bowl of dishwater. Laughing all the while, Sherlock was assisted in his devilry by a pair of unidentified seventeen-year-old males who chronicled for posterity his abuse on a mobile phone.
As things eventually turned out, it was precisely Sherlock's and his accomplices' desire to relive over and over again their abuse of Roxy that ultimately proved to be their undoing. In particular, in their exuberance to share their wanton moral depravity with their friends they mistakenly sent the video to an unidentified adult woman who was not amused and promptly contacted the police.
Once again Sherlock was done in by his vanity in that the crescent-shaped black tattoo that he sports on his left cheek made it easy for the police to identify him. He subsequently was arrested on June 9th and charged with animal cruelty.
On November 5th, he pled guilty in Torquay Magistrates Court and was sentenced to one-hundred-twenty-six days in jail and barred from owning any animals for ten years. (See photo of him below.)
"The offense is so serious that only custody is justified because of the high level of cruelty imposed on the cat, which was sustained over a period and involved three appliances," Magistrate Marigold Seager-Berry ruled according to a report in the Daily Mail on November 6th. (See "Jail for Tattooed Torturer Who Put Cat in a Microwave Oven, a Tumble Drier and a Freezer.") "It caused serious harm and torture to a domestic cat, causing it lasting mental trauma."
It is not known if either of the youths are substance abusers, but Sherlock readily admits to being a boozer and a doper. "It was a drunken, stupid, drugged-up mistake and if I have harmed anyone I apologize," he told the Herald Express of Torquay in Devon on October 9th. (See "Cat Torturer: I'm Sorry.")
His conviction apparently has not done anything to diminish his popularity with the opposite sex because he had a young girl waiting for him outside of court. (See photo below.)
In a study published November 1st in Lancet, Professor David Nutt and his colleagues at the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs concluded that although illicit drugs, such heroin, crack, and crystal meth, are more harmful to their individual abusers, alcohol does more damage to society as a whole. (See Daily Mail, November 1, 2010, "Alcohol 'More Dangerous Than Crack, Heroin and Ecstasy'.")
That in no way detracts from the substantial toll that alcohol inflicts upon those who abuse it. "Im Glas ersaufen mehr als im Meer," as an old German Sprichwort stipulates.
There certainly cannot be any denying that alcohol abuse and cats are a bad mix. (See Cat Defender posts of October 30, 2010, August 17, 2009, and September 18, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Drunken Bum Is Foiled in a Macabre Plot to Make a Meal Out of Kittens, Nirvana and Karma, That He Allegedly Ran Down Earlier with His Truck," "America's Insane Love Affair with Criminals Continues as Drunkard Who Sliced Open Scatt with a Box Cutter Gets Off with Time on the Water Wagon," and "Drunken Brute Beats, Stabs, and Then Hurls Fifi to Her Death Against the Side of a House in Limerick.")
Even shelter cats and big cats cruelly incarcerated at zoos are not safe from the crimes committed by drunkards. (See Cat Defender posts of August 31, 2006 and January 28, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Animal Control Officer Goes on Drunken Binge and Leaves Four Cats and a Dog to Die of Thirst, Hunger, and Heat at Massachusetts Shelter" and "Hopped Up on Vodka and Pot, Trio Taunted Tatiana Prior to Attacks That Led to Her Being Killed by Police.")
Drug abuse and cats are another lethal mix. (See Cat Defender posts of May 10, 2010 and April 24, 2010 entitled, respectively, "Lunatic Rulings in Cats with No Name Cruelty Cases Prove Once Again That Pennsylvania Is a Safe Haven for Cat Killers and Junkies" and "Holly Crawford Hits the Jackpot by Drawing a Judge Who Simply Adores Kitten Mutilators and Dope Addicts.")
As bad as the crimes of drunkards and dope addicts are, they nonetheless pale in comparison with the cold, calculated, methodical abuse inflicted upon cats by shelters, Animal Control, wildlife biologists, PETA and, especially, birders. (See Cat Defender post of January 19, 2011 entitled "Bird Lover in München Illegally Traps Rocco and Then Methodically Tortures Him to Death with Water and Pepper Spray over an Eleven-Day Period.")
Sherlock's two unidentified accomplices later were found guilty in Newton Abbot Youth Court on January 13th but remain free on bail pending their sentencing on February 9th. In particular, by filming and assisting Sherlock in the commission of his crimes the pair was found to have violated the Joint Enterprise Law, which has been on the books for three-hundred-years.
"Their failure to act (to stop Sherlock) speaks volumes," prosecutor John Wyatt told the Herald Express on January 14th. (See "Jail Warning for Teenagers in Shocking Cat Torture Case.")
In their defense, the youths contended that they went along with Sherlock because he was a "dodgy bloke." Earlier at his trial, Sherlock had maintained just the opposite and that in fact it was the youths who had egged him on to torture Roxy.
Even the youths' attorney, Simon Coleman, could not come up with anything good to say about them. "Neither come out of this with much credibility," he told the Herald Express. "Neither of them acted correctly. Neither of them come up smelling of roses."
Worst of all as far as they are concerned, Magistrate Jan Gant is threatening to get tough with them. "This was so serious a custodial sentence may be justified," she told them according to the Herald Express.
If past precedent is anything to go by, Gant is merely playing to public opinion by shooting off her mouth in such a fashion. For example, back in 2008 a sixteen-year-old miscreant named Jessica received only nine months of probation and an order to author a letter of apology after she was convicted by District Judge Sue Green in Camberwell Youth Court of drowning the HMS Belfast's mascot, Kilo, in the Thames. (See Cat Defender post of November 24, 2008 entitled "Kilo's Killer Walks in a Lark but the Joke Is on the Disgraceful English Judicial System.")
As for Roxy, she was seized by the RSPCA in April and placed in foster care where she languished for most of 2010 because she was too traumatized in order to be adopted. She finally was placed in a new home sometime within the past two months and is said to be progressing although she, quite understandably, is still frightened of humans.
An unidentified older cat also was seized from the home but it is not known either if it, too, was abused or if it has been rehomed.
Photos: Daily Mail (Roxy and Sherlock with girl) and Small World News (Sherlock).