April 2022

Former soldier stabs pet dog with kitchen knife and beats it with a blunt object

A former soldier attacked his pet dog with a knife and a blunt object in what a judge described as a “gratuitous and cowardly attack” on a defenceless animal.

Joshua Norman stabbed Simba the Labrador in the neck with a large knife before repeatedly beating it to the head and boy with a heavy object.

The dog was found cowering, whimpering and bleeding heavily in the bathroom of the former paratrooper’s flat.

Simba was found to have suffered from, among other injuries, extensive bruising and swelling above the right eye. Areas of Simba’s skin were hit so hard the blood supply had been cut off to them.

Simba also suffered a puncture wound by a suspected stabbing, measuring 10cm long.

Swansea Crown Court heard that on March 5 this year Norman was in contact with an ex-partner by phone, and told her he was going to take his own life.

Sian Cutter, prosecuting, said the woman was concerned about what was going on and so went to the Pembroke Dock flat where Norman was temporarily living.

The court heard the ex-partner described the flat as “looking like a bomb had hit it” with clothes and other objects strew around, windows smashed and curtains pulled down, dog faeces and patches of urine on the floors, and blood smeared on the walls.

The prosecutor said the woman found Norman’s pet dog Simba lying on the bathroom flat in a pool of blood and in a distressed state, with an open wound in the shoulder and neck area.

The ex-partner subsequently contacted the police who attended the flat and arrested the defendant.

In the flat officers found a knife with a 13 cm blade which was covered in blood and black hair, a hammer, and a small quantity of cannabis.

Meanwhile Simba was taken to the vet where, due to the seriousness of his injuries, he had to be sedated – an examination of the dog found a 10cm-deep wound in the shoulder and neck area along with extensive bruising and swelling around the eyes, and multiple traumatic blunt force injuries to the head and body.

The dog is now in the care of an animal charity.

In a subsequent interview the 24-year-old defendant said he had drunk a litre of vodka, half a bottle of gin, and cans of lager and did not know what he had done – though he denied hitting the dog with a hammer

The court heard he refused to look at pictures of the injuries inflicted on the animal.

Joseph Norman, of Lowless Close, Pembroke, Pembrokeshire, had previously pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, criminal damage, and possession of cannabis when he appeared in the dock for sentencing.

He has no previous convictions but does a court martial matter on his record.

The court heard the maximum sentence available for causing unnecessary suffering has recently increased from six months as a summary-only offence to five years.

Dyfed Thomas, for Norman, said the defendant had served in the Army – on his client’s instructions with 2 Para – though his service “did not end well” as he failed a drugs test, went absent without leave, and was then discharged.

The barrister acknowledged the attack on the dog had been “awful and nasty”

Judge Jeremy Jenkins told Norman he had committed a “gratuitous and cowardly attack on a defenceless animal”, and said any sentence other than one of immediate custody would not be appropriate.

With a one-third discount for his guilty pleas Norman was sentenced to 10 months in prison comprising 10 months for the animal offence, one month for the criminal damage, and one month for the drug matter all to run concurrently.

The defendant was banned from owning any domestic animals for the next five years but the judge declined to make a depravation order for Simba.

Now Simba lives with a fellow Labrador as well as a tiny terrier in a loving family who have helped bring the dog back to full health.