Pair set pet dog on fire then told lie after lie, court hears
Two men standing trial over the death of a family pet who was set on fire were accused of "telling lie after lie" about their whereabouts on the morning the dog was attacked.
Cody the collie, who was owned by the Agnew family from Maghabery in Co Antrim, had flammable liquid poured over her which was then set alight, resulting in deep burns.
She made her way back home after the attack – which occurred on the morning of Sunday, August 26, 2012 – but had to be put to sleep a fortnight later because of the severity of her injuries.
Andrew Richard Stewart from Wellington Parks in Maghaberry and Jamie Downey from Chestnut Hall Avenue in Moira are accused of causing unneccessary suffering to Cody.
The pair, who are both 23, deny the charge and are standing trial at Belfast Crown Court.
As the case against Stewart and Downey was opened, members of the jury were told they will hear from several witnesses who placed them within what the prosecution described as a "timetable of events" related to the Sunday morning in question.
The jury also heard both accused made the case when arrested that they were at a house party which they left at 7am before making their way home where they went to their beds.
Saying both Stewart and Downey's version of events were untrue, the prosecutor said it was the Crown's case that "these two accused did a circuit around Maghaberry. They had been at a party, they were perhaps walking off the effects of that or finishing their carry-out".
The prosecutor also said that after making their way past the Agnew household, Stewart and Downey "for some reason... poured some flammable liquid over the dog and set her alight. They are each responsible together for that".
He also said that suspected animal fur was found at several locations in a portable cabin near a quarry close to the Agnew's home.
The prosecutor said Stewart told someone that he had left the party with Downey at around 9am and that they had gone for a walk then had gone home.
When he was subsequently interviewed, Stewart denied he had said this, which the prosecutor said was "the first lie" Stewart told about his movements in the village that morning.
The jury was told they will hear during the trial from a witness who will say he saw Stewart and another male in the Wellington Parks area of Maghaberry between 8.15am and 9.15am, when Stewart was wearing a hooded top and grey tracksuit bottoms.
The prosecutor said this matched the description of the clothes Stewart was wearing the evening before when he was recorded on CCTV buying a carryout which he later told police was a bottle of Buckfast.
Two males were also captured on footage taken from Maghaberry Primary School walking past the premises at 9.03am on Sunday heading to a laneway that leads towards the Agnew house.
Between 9.45am and 10am, two males aged around 18 were seen walking along train tracks accompanied by a black and white collie-type dog.
This witness saw the two males leave the railway track, followed by the dog.
At around 10am, two males accompanied by a dog were seen adjacent to the quarry.
The court hear that when the quarry was later examined by scenes of crime officers, they discovered suspected animal fur.
The trial continues.
At around 7.30 on the morning of Sunday, August 26, 2012, Natalie Agnew let Cody out. At around 9am, her son saw two males he described as teenagers walking towards his home. Before seeing the two males, the youngster had seen Cody but he didn't see the dog again.
Cody returned between 10.30am and 10.45am, severely burned.