Northern Ireland

Tests ongoing to assess if a puppy was put in microwave

Sparky Image copyright PSNI
Image caption Remains of the 11-week-old pup, Sparky, were found in a bin

Tests are ongoing to establish if a puppy allegedly battered to death with a hammer was also put in a microwave, the High Court heard on Friday.

Prosecutors confirmed there is an ongoing investigation, as a man accused of inflicting the fatal injuries sought renewed bail.

Kyle Keegan, 23, is charged with causing unnecessary suffering to animals.

Remains of 11-week-old Sparky were found in a bin in February.

The attack is suspected to have taken place at a drink and drug-fuelled house party in the Ailsbury Park area of Lurgan, County Armagh.

A post-mortem confirmed the pup had sustained a number of fractures as well as severe brain trauma.

Blood stained hammer

Police went to the scene of the alleged killing after being alerted to concerns about the dog.

The animal's remains were seized along with a blood-spattered T-shirt.

A blood-stained hammer which had allegedly been hidden behind a kitchen appliance was also taken for further examination.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Kyle Keegan, 23, outside Craigavon Magistrates Court earlier this year (archive picture)

Mr Keegan, a scaffolder from Gilpins Manor in Lurgan, was previously granted bail but returned to custody for allegedly breaching his conditions.

Forensic links

Opposing his latest bid to be released, Crown lawyer Conor Maguire set out how the investigation developed when a 16-year-old youth went to police expressing fear for his safety due to social media posts linking him to the incident.

The youth claimed he had heard a loud noise while at the flat on the day of the alleged attack, the court heard.

"He said he went out to the hallway and saw the applicant (Keegan) with a hammer in his hand and blood on it," Mr Maguire submitted.

"He said he walked away but heard more bangs and a yelp."

Lord Justice Treacy was told police believe there is a forensic link between Keegan, the hammer and the dead animal.

Mr Maguire added: "There was an allegation which is currently subject to investigation, that the dog had been placed in a microwave.

"There are forensic investigations ongoing to see if any determination can be made in relation to that."

Adjourning the hearing, the judge requested information on whether Mr Keegan had complied with a previous requirement to attend his GP.

Lord Justice Treacy also told defence lawyers he wanted more information about a job Mr Keegan had been expected to start. ends

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