Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland man admits killing puppy with hammer

Kyle Keegan outside court on a previous appearance. Credit: Paul Higgins
Kyle Keegan outside court on a previous appearance. Credit: Paul Higgins

By Paul Higgins

A Lurgan man who bludgeoned a puppy to death with a hammer, broadcasting the sickening attack on the web, pleaded guilty to animal cruelty on Tuesday.

Kyle Keegan (24) was due to go on trial at Craigavon Crown Court on Wednesday accused of causing unnecessary suffering to Sparky, a 12-week-old cross breed puppy but instead, dressed in a white shirt and striped tie, he took to the dock on Tuesday to confess.

Defence counsel Barry McKenna asked for the charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a crossbreed puppy named Sparky on February 3 last year to be put to Keegan again and it was then that he replied simply: “Guilty.”

Following the guilty plea, prosecuting counsel Nicola Aurett asked that a second count of criminal damage, accusing Keegan of destroying the puppy “without lawful excuse,” should be left on the books.

Judge Patrick Lynch QC acceded to that application and to a defence application that sentencing should be adjourned pending the completion of a pre-sentence probation report.

Freeing Keegan, from Gilpins Manor, on continuing bail until sentencing on 4 July, the judge told him it would be “in you own interests to co-operate with probation.”

“Thanks very much,” replied Keegan.

Nothing of the facts was heard in court on Tuesday, but earlier courts have heard how the bloodied remains of the 12-week-old pup were uncovered in a bin in the Ailsbury Park area of Lurgan after a house party and that an initial postmortem on the pup's remains revealed how Sparky had sustained a number of fractures as well as severe brain trauma.

At one stage there had also been allegations that Sparky’s body had been put into a microwave and tissue samples were sent to Scotland for expert analysis but to date, no evidence of that has been forthcoming.

Previous courts have also heard that as well as the forensic aspect of the investigation, police conducted enquiries with social media outlets after the incident was broadcast online.

The 12-week-old pup
The 12-week-old pup

During one such appearance in March last year, District Judge Bernie Kelly revealed how she had been sent a photograph of the incident which claimed the life of Sparky the dog “even before the case came to Court such is the outrage.”

The judge added that “I’m shocked I’m going to say this but [it was done] for someone’s entertainment.”

“I have been in this post for more than 35 years and I have never in my life come across something as cruel as what’s alleged in this case,” declared Judge Kelly.

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