Woman who dumped cat in wheelie bin 'profoundly sorry'

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A woman filmed dumping a cat in a wheelie bin has said she is "profoundly sorry" for "a split second of misjudgement".

The RSPCA said it would be interviewing Mary Bale after CCTV cameras showed her throwing four-year-old Lola into a bin outside her owners' home in Coventry.

A Facebook group calling for Ms Bale's death has been removed, the social networking site said.

Police said they were speaking to the 45-year-old about her personal safety.

Lola was rescued from the bin 15 hours later by her owner, Darryl Mann.

Outrage was sparked among animal lovers earlier this week after the film - from security cameras outside their home - was posted online by Mr Mann's wife Stephanie.

The couple, of Bray's Lane in Coventry, have said they are both "stunned" by the public reaction to the footage.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Ms Bale, a bank worker from Stoke, in Coventry, said: "I want to take this opportunity to apologise profusely for the upset and distress that my actions have caused.

"I cannot explain why I did this, it is completely out of character and I certainly did not intend to cause any distress to Lola or her owners.

"It was a split second of misjudgement that has got completely out of control.

"I am due to meet with the RSPCA and police to discuss this matter further and will co-operate fully with their investigations.

"I wish to reiterate that I am profoundly sorry for my actions and wish to resolve this matter to everyone's satisfaction as soon as possible."

She later returned to her home in Coventry with police officers, at about 1730 BST, to collect some bags before leaving a few minutes later.

'Threat of harm'

Mrs Mann said once the woman was identified by police and the RSPCA she felt people should leave it to the authorities and not "take matters into their own hands".

But police said community support officers were sent to Ms Bale's home on Tuesday after large crowds gathered outside.

Hundreds of people posted angry messages on Facebook under the group name "Death to Mary Bale".

Some of the content was described by West Midlands Police as "inflammatory and offensive".

Image caption,
Mary Bale (left) returned to her home on Wednesday before leaving

A spokeswoman for Facebook said the group contravened the site's terms of use.

Users are always encouraged to report offensive comments posted on the site and moderators would remove anything deemed to be a "credible threat", she added.

"We can't comment on individual cases for privacy reasons but I can tell you that one group, entitled Death to Mary Bale, has been removed today," the spokeswoman said.

A police spokeswoman said officers had monitored the site to "assess any threat of harm" to Ms Bale as part of the investigation.

However no formal police protection has been arranged.

"The investigation is being led by the RSPCA but obviously the other strand of this now is Mary Bale's safety and we are looking at the potential impact of these messages," police said.

"I would not go so far as to say we are investigating death threats, that is not the situation, but we are closely monitoring these groups and messages.

"There are no plans to give any kind of formal police protection but we are talking to Mary Bale about her personal safety, we are having that conversation with her, and we do want to make sure she is OK."

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