Prosecution in Amersham case halted for Christmas

  • Prosecution witnesses continued to give their evidence this week in the trial of the Gray family and a youth at Bicester Magistrates Court.

    RSPCA chief inspector Rob Skinner detailed how he and vet Bob Baskerville found animals that needed veterinary attention at James Gray’s Spindle Farm, in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, last January, but found Mr Gray unwilling to allow the horses to leave.

    Mr Skinner told the court a horse, referred to as KH8, needed specialist care and “would die if it were left” but Mr Gray claimed he was treating it “for a snuffly nose” and there was no need to take it away.

    Mr Skinner said: “Mr Baskerville repeated KH8 should be removed. Mr Gray then said: “You are on their side as well” and Mr Gray’s wife Julie, 41, told Mr Baskerville: “You’ve always had it in for my husband.”

    When the RSPCA inspectors left the farm, they told Mrs Gray to ensure the animals were given food and water.

    When the team returned the next day they found “good quality haylage” was being provided to animals in one of the fields.

    Mr Skinner told the court the hay bale had not been there the previous day and added that they found a horse in the field with a badly infected eye.

    He told the court a total of 37 horses were in the field that day and “several were in poor condition”.

    An animal welfare officer for Buckinghamshire County Council’s Trading Standards team, Geoff Higgins, told the court that he found the remains of several animals on a rubbish heap when he went to the farm on 6 January 2008.

    He said horses had access to the rubbish heap, which is against the law.

    “The heap was scattered with general detritus — stuff being thrown out, like plastic and pipe. There were a lot of bones scattered across the surface which had the appearance of jawbones and ribs.”

    His attention was then drawn to a nearby carcass, he said. The animal had a rope attached to its near hind leg, he said.

    James and Julie Gray and Cordelia Gray, 20, all of Spindles Farm, Jodie Gray, 26, of Park Road, Ashford, Middlesex, and a teenager who cannot be named for legal reasons, each deny allegations of causing unnecessary suffering and failing to meet the welfare needs of 132 animals.

    The trial continues but is now adjourned until 12 January.

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