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‘I love animals,’ man accused of killing dog tells court

PUBLISHED: 16:47 06 April 2018 | UPDATED: 16:47 06 April 2018

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Archant

A man accused of shooting and killing his neighbour’s pet told police he got his gun after seeing his neighbour’s dog attacking his own, a court has been told.

Following his arrest in September, 78-year-old Robin Rolph said he had been mowing his lawn when he heard his wife screaming and saw that his neighbour’s dog had his Jack Russell cross called Ted by the scruff of the neck and was “shaking it like a rag doll”.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that Ted was subsequently taken to a local vet and was found to have a 20cm long and 5cm wide gaping neck wound which was bleeding profusely and a second smaller wound.

The 10-year-old had drains inserted in the wounds and was hospitalised for five days.

Rolph, of Undley Road, Lakenheath, has denied affray and destroying a dog belonging to Robin Conway-Lusted on September 13 last year.

During his police interview, which was read to a jury yesterday, Rolph denied “losing the plot” during the incident and shooting the dog in anger as punishment.

Rolph claimed that after attacking Ted his neighbour’s dog, which was a Mastiff cross Labrador called Coco, had jumped on to a wall and turned to face him.

“I thought he was going to come for me and I panicked and pulled the trigger,” said Rolph. “I hoped I hadn’t wounded him but I probably did. I’m an animal lover and wouldn’t want to hurt a dog.”

He said that shortly afterwards Mr Conway-Lusted had “charged” up to him, shouting and waving his hands and was pulled back by his wife.

Rolph denied pointing his gun at Mr Conway-Lusted and threatening to shoot him.

Rolph chose not to give evidence during the trial.

Defence witness Brian Rutterford described Rolph as quiet and unassuming and as being a “very responsible” firearm user.

It has been alleged that Rolph shot Mr Conway-Lusted’s dog after it went through a fence into his garden.

It is also alleged that when Mr Conway-Lusted confronted Rolph after hearing a gunshot Rolph had threatened to shoot him as well.

The court heard that Coco’s body was found by a perimeter fence the next day and had a wound above it’s left eye.

The trial continues on Monday.

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