James Gray appeal against jail sentence starts

  • Convicted horse abuser James Gray was back in court yesterday (11 January) to appeal against his conviction and sentence for cruelty to hundreds of horses in his care.

    He contends the horses died of natural causes.

    RSPCA officers found 31 dead horses, ponies and donkeys at the farm when they attended in January 2008. A further 115 were later removed.

    Gray received the maximum penalty possible for animal cruelty under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

    He was sentenced to 24 weeks in jail with £400,000 costs and a life ban from keeping, trading in or transporting horses, on 12 June 2009.

    But he and his co-defendants — his wife Julie, daughters Cordelia and Jodie and a boy who cannot be named — all appealed the outcome of the case.

    Now Bicester Magistrates Court, sitting as Aylesbury Crown Court, will go through all the evidence from the trial again, in a case scheduled to take at least five weeks.

    Gray and the youth were both found guilty of nine charges of causing unnecessary suffering to animals and two charges of failing to protect animals from pain, injury, suffering and disease.

    Mrs Gray and daughters Cordelia and Jodie were also banned from keeping equines for 10 years and given 150 hours community service each over 12 months.

    They were found guilty of failing to protect the animals.

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