A horse trader has been sentenced to 24 weeks in jail and banned fromowning and keeping horses for life at the end of one of the UK’s worstanimal welfare cases.

Today at Aylesbury Magistrates’ Court, district judge Andrew Vickers drew to a close the longest-running animal welfare trial in history by sentencing James Gray, 45, from Spindles Farm in Amersham to 24 weeks in prison and banning him from owning and keeping horses for life. He was also ordered to pay costs of £400,000. A deprivation order has been made for the 111 horses removed from his care.

His 16-year-old son James Gray Junior was banned for 10 years and given an 18-month supervision order. Daughters Jodie, 26, and Cordelia, 21, were banned for 10 years and given costs of £500 each and their mother Julie, 42, was banned for 10 years and given costs of £750. All three women were also ordered to carry out 150 hours’ community service, which must be carried out within 12 months. The family cannot appeal their bans for five years.

In an RSPCA-led investigation in January 2008, a total of 32 horses, ponies and donkeys were found dead and 111 were removed from Spindles Farm. It was described as the worst case of horse welfare abuse in UK history.

More on this story will follow on Vetsonline.

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