Two women who provided false alibis to the killers of Cody the dog have escaped jail.
Caroline Harper, 45, and Sharon Stewart, 54, walked free from Craigavon Crown Court last Thursday after their six month jail sentences for perverting the course of justice were suspended for one year.
The pair gave knowingly false accounts to police about the movements of Andrew Stewart and Jamie Downey on the day they doused Cody in petrol and set her on fire.
The border collie had to be put down after being attacked by Stewart, 24, at a quarry near Maghaberry village in August 2012.
Downey, also aged 24, lied to police in the aftermath of the attack and gave his friend a false alibi.
Cody was so badly burned that her ribs and other joints were visible through her badly charred flesh. She died two weeks later.
Detectives investigating the shocking case of animal cruelty questioned Caroline Harper and Sharon Stewart about the whereabouts of Cody’s killers on the day she was set alight.
Caroline Harper, with an address at Chestnut Hall Avenue, Maghaberry, is the aunt of sadistic Jamie Downey.
Sharon Stewart, who lives at Waverley Court in Lisburn, is the mother of Andrew Stewart.
Both women lied to the police giving false accounts of the movements of their relatives on the day Cody was attacked.
They were later charged with perverting the course of justice and obstructing police.
Last Thursday, at a relatively short hearing at Craigavon Crown Court the pair pleaded guilty to the first charge, with the second left on the books.
Their case had been listed that morning as a ‘mention – for review’ but on the day both Harper and Stewart copped guilty pleas and were promptly sentenced.
Lying Sharon Stewart’s son Andrew Stewart was jailed for 10 months in 2014 for setting Cody on fire – an action that Judge David McFarland branded “evil, vile and beyond comprehension”.
The dog killer admitted a charge of animal cruelty two days into his trial on the charge. He was also banned from keeping pets for 30 years.
Sadistic Stewart’s pal Jamie Downey was jailed for three months for providing him with a false alibi.
Her owner Natalie Agnew explained how the attack had a terrible impact on her young children who struggled to comprehend how anyone could be so cruel to a harmless animal.
She said: “It’s been horrendous, the effect it’s had on the children, let alone what they actually did to the poor dog.
“The effect it’s had on my two boys is still ongoing, they’ve had to have counselling and sleepless nights, nightmares. It’s just been awful hard to try and come to terms with.”