WARNING: Readers may find the pictures at the bottom of this story disturbing.

A LATCHFORD man who kicked a dog in the head and left the helpless pet to die in a 'brutal and sustained' attack has been jailed and banned from keeping animals.

Paul Wilcock, of Bowen Avenue, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a Jack Russell terrier dog named Molly, which belonged to the defendant's brother Kevin Hickman.

The 48-year-old was sentenced today, Thursday, at Halton Magistrates' Court for the attack which took place during a visit to his brother's home in Orford, on St Peter's Way, on August 15.

The court heard how the pair, who had been drinking, were discussing their mum's death before a 'physical struggle' broke out.

Molly started to bark during the incident and it was then when Wilcock focused his anger on her before launching the attack, during which he kicked her repeatedly.

A police officer who attended the scene said he saw Molly lying motionless, along with a substantial amount of blood on the walls and floor.

He also described seeing Wilcock 'swaying and struggling to stand'.

Wilcock initially claimed Molly as being 'alive and well' when he left the property, the court heard.

RSPCA inspector Anthony Joynes, who was called to the scene, sent the items of clothing to DNA forensic experts, where it was proven that there was a 100 per cent match between the blood stains on Wilcock's clothing and Molly.

He also admitted a failure to protect Molly from injuries due to the infliction of physical violence.

Prosecuting Tom Stock confirmed there had been no suggestion that the brutal act was carried out by Wilcock in order to protect himself.

"The defendant caused Molly to suffer by kicking and striking the dog repeatedly in an unprovoked and sustained attack," he said.

"The inspector noticed blood dripping and smeared on the walls.

"The dog was a well-natured dog and showed no signs of aggression.

"She died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head which would have cause immense suffering – it was a brutal attack."

Defending Gary Heaven admitted it was a 'disturbing' case and said it has been a difficult time for Wilcock.

He added: "I won't serve his interests by offering mitigation.

"He has not been psychologically whole for some time and drinking has become a feature of his behaviour.

"He went to his brother's house to discuss aspects of his mum's death – it has been a trying time since his mum's death."

A post-mortem examination at the University of Liverpool showed multiple fractures of Molly's skull, bruised lungs and a windpipe full of blood.

The magistrates sentenced Wilcock to 20 weeks in prison, reduced from 26 weeks for his early guilty plea and banned him from keeping animals for life.

He cannot appeal for a termination of the ban.

He was also ordered to pay £400 towards prosecution costs and an £80 victim surcharge.

Speaking after sentencing, Mr Joynes, from the RSPCA, said: "Finding Molly lying motionless in a pool of blood is something I will never forget.

"This was quite an awful crime and it saddens me that this poor dog has met such a brutally violent end.

"I am pleased, however, that she did not suffer completely in vain as we have managed to bring her abuser before the courts and he now has many long nights to sit and think about what he has done.

"Wilcock denied any involvement in the killing of Molly - that is until his clothes and shoes, seized at the time of his arrest, were sent for forensic examination.

"Six areas of blood were located and tested 100 per cent positive for dog DNA.

"We are completely zero-tolerance on this sort of abhorrent behaviour and this case just goes to show that we will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that animal abusers are brought before the courts to answer for their actions."

EDITOR'S NOTE: The RSPCA has asked us to publish these images to show the extent of the injuries the dog suffered.

Molly was found motionless at the scene

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