East Lancs man's poison killed neighbour's cat

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Alan Gillibrand walking down stairs Alan Gillibrand walking down stairs

A SHEET metal worker has confessed to leaving out bags of chicken offal laced with anti-freeze which killed a neighbour’s cat.

Eye-witness Megan Hanratty heard noises from nearby bushes as she visited her boyfriend in Dill Hall Lane, Church, near Accrington, magistrates heard.

And when she went to investigate, she saw Alan Gillibrand drop a plastic lunch bag containing chicken and a ‘blue-green liquid’, the court was told.

It killed a cat belonging to Shirley Sharing who, speaking after yesterday’s hearing at Burnley Magistrates’ Court, said her family had been left devastated.

RSPCA prosecutor Christopher Wyatt said Gillibrand was then seen to go to his car and drop another similar bag next to his vehicle.

Miss Hanratty alerted her boyfriend, Ethan Upton, who recognised the bags as similar to some he had spotted another cat eating from two months earlier.

Mr Wyatt said that the neighbourhood cat, that he remembered was called Boo, had later died.

Mr Upton went to Gillibrand’s home to confront him about the discovery but he denied all knowledge of the bags and snatched one from his neighbour, the court heard.

But he managed to retain one of the bags and gave it to another neighbour for safekeeping, before the RSPCA was brought in.

Earlier that day, in September last year, Mrs Sharing, wife of Alan, told an RSPCA official that her nine-year-old daughter had taken a similar bag out from the mouth of their pet chihuahua.

The dog was later taken to the vets but while it was being treated, their cat, Beast, was brought in. The cat was very ill and unsteady on his legs and later had to be put down.

Mr Wyatt said Mr Sharing had told the RSPCA that there had been a number of incidents of suspected anti-freeze poisoning the previous summer.

Gillibrand, 59, of Dill Hall Lane, admitted causing a poisonous substance to be taken by a protected animal. He was bailed until next Wednesday for pre-sentence reports.

Paul Huxley, defending, said Gillibrand had been experiencing problems with rats and mice and a friend had suggested adopting a solution involving lunch bags filled with chicken and anti-freeze.

His client had been on strong medication at the time, for a medical complaint, and accepted he had ‘foolishly’ followed this advice, he added.

Mr Huxley said: “This is not a vindictive chap who has been going out and trying to get rid of all the local cats. It has been a terrible mistake, carried out on poor advice.”

The court heard RSPCA inspectors had recovered a number of rat and mouse traps from his property when he was spoken to about the incident.

Mr Huxley said the defendant had also been the victim of a number of vandalism incidents since the offence came to light - and while he could not establish who was responsible, he had not had an easy time since then.

Speaking after the case, Mrs Sharing said: “I was just frantic. The dog and the cat had been in danger in the same day and my children had been touching these bags with poison in.

“It is dangerous and I just couldn’t believe what was happening. We have four children and it’s been very upsetting for them.

“They were our family pets and the whole family has been devastated by this.”

RSPCA inspector Katherin Hamblin said: “This is a very painful death and it is a very cruel and disturbing thing to do.”

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