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Sadist who torched pet dog Cody is freed from jail

By Lesley Houston

Published 12/08/2015

Andrew Stewart is now back on the streets
Andrew Stewart is now back on the streets
Natalie Agnew’s family dog Cody after she was set on fire by Andrew Stewart
Natalie Agnew

A man who barbarically set a pet dog alight has been released from jail.

Andrew Stewart was freed from prison last week after being sentenced for dousing border collie Cody in fuel and setting her on fire.

The three-year-old was so badly burned bones were visible through her charred flesh and she had to be put down.

It is believed Stewart is the first person to be jailed for animal cruelty in Northern Ireland

The two heartbroken boys who owned the pet have had to be reassured by their mother that the man jailed for killing their beloved dog can do them no harm.

Natalie Agnew said her sons, Justin aged 13 and Jake (9), had been left fearful they might run into Stewart in their home village of Maghaberry.

Last night in Aghalee in Co Antrim, where Stewart is now thought to be living, residents were divided in their views over the convicted criminal's presence in the area.

Some said what he did was despicable and unforgiveable, but others said he had done his time and had to live somewhere.

Stewart, from Meadowfield Court in Aghalee, had denied the charge for two years but made a last-minute change of plea on the second day of his trial in Belfast in October 2014.

He was handed a 20-month sentence at Belfast Crown Court, 10 months in custody and the remaining 10 on licence.

Mrs Agnew said last night: "I'll never get over it, especially in terms of what it did to the children. The damage to them is irreversible."

In Aghalee people on the streets had differing views over the case.

A woman dog owner was angered by the news.

"It's despicable what he did to a defenceless animal and he should have got longer in prison. It's just unforgiveable what he did. If he can do that to a dog what might he go on to do to a person."

One woman visiting a local shop said she believed Stewart should be allowed to move on with his life after serving his time.

"I mean, I don't condone what he did; it was terrible and he shouldn't have done it and it was just awful for the dog and for its family, but he's been through the courts and has done his time and he has to live somewhere now doesn't he?"

Another couple passing through the village said they were of the view that it was time to move on from the horrific case.

"It was awful but it's done now and it's been through the courts and even convicted people have to live somewhere."

One man declined to say much other than stating: "Some people don't even get that for setting a human being alight." While another man said Stewart should have been "hung, drawn and quartered".

A woman walking a border collie similar to Cody agreed: "Anyone who can do that to a dog, without remorse or empathy, well I would be scared what they might do next."

Belfast Telegraph

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