Laura Cunliffe jailed for microwaving pet kitten

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A woman who killed her pet kitten by cooking it in a microwave because she thought it had attacked her goldfish has been jailed for 14 weeks.

Laura Cunliffe, 23, of Hoyland, near Barnsley, put black-and-white Mowgli into the microwave and turned it on for five minutes.

She was jailed at Barnsley Magistrates' Court after admitting causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

District Judge John Foster said it was an "act of utterly horrendous cruelty".

The court heard Cunliffe put the kitten into the microwave and switched it on but took the animal out about a minute later when she realised what she had done. The kitten died later.

'Suffered terribly'

Her solicitor, Alan Greaves, said Cunliffe had longstanding problems with psychotic depression and had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act 20 times.

As she was sentenced a family member shouted from the public gallery: "She doesn't know what's happening - she hasn't a clue."

Another shouted: "This is a failure of medical services, judge."

Mr Foster told the defendant: "This was an act of utterly horrendous cruelty on your part on an animal that, as far as I could see, had come to trust you and rely on you."

Cunliffe was banned from keeping animals for life and was told she cannot apply to have this ban reviewed for five years.

An RSPCA spokeswoman said: "This was such a sad case and clearly this poor kitten would have suffered terribly over a prolonged period of time.

"Sentencing is a matter for the courts but we hope this means other animals will not have to suffer in the future in this way."

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