Pensioner cleared of dog death charges

Ipswich Crown Court
Ipswich Crown Court

A pensioner accused of shooting his neighbour’s dog and making threats to shoot the animal’s owner has been cleared of two charges.

Robin Rolfe, 78, had denied offences of affray and destroying a dog and on Monday, following a trial at Ipswich Crown Court, he was found not guilty by a jury.

He had pleaded guilty to a third charge of possession of rifle ammunition without holding a firearms certificate and was fined £500 with £200 prosecution costs by Judge John Devaux.

The incident happened on September 13 last year at an address in Undley Road, Lakenheath.

During the trial Rolfe chose not to give evidence but in a police interview read to the court he said he fired the gun because he feared the dog was about to attack him.

Rolfe said he had been alerted by his wife’s screams and found his own Jack Russell cross called Ted being held by the neck by a mastiff-Labrador cross dog called Coco. Following the incident, Ted spent five days being treated by a vet after having suffered a 20cm long wound to his neck, Rolfe had told police.

Rolfe said he had fired the gun in ‘panic’ and had not intended to cause any injury.

The prosecution had alleged that Rolfe, now of Hereward Way, Feltwell, had killed Coco as a punishment because it had got into his garden.

The body of Coco was found by Max Kettley, step-son of owner Robin Conway-Lusted, with a wound above the left eye, said Gerard Renouf prosecuting.

Giving evidence, Mr Kettley said that following the shooting he heard Rolfe threaten to shoot Mr Conway-Lusted as well.

In the wake of the incident, Mr Conway-Lusted was taken ill and an ambulance had to be called, said Mr Kettley.

Melanie Conway-Lusted told the court that Coco was a ‘mild mannered’ pet. She said she had heard Rolfe tell her husband that he would be shot too if he did not get off Rolfe’s property.