April 2021

Son who stabbed mum’s dog to death with kitchen knife freed from jail on appeal

Mathew Friend walked free from court after appealing against his sentence for stabbing his mum's dog

A paedophile who stabbed his mum’s dog has walked free from court after successfully appealing against his sentence.

Mathew Friend of Haslemere Way, Gateacre was jailed for 16 weeks after plunging a kitchen knife into the Shih Tzu’s back.

The tiny dog was still alive and shaking when the 38-year-old left to go to a police station and hand himself in.

A court today ruled that his sentence should be reduced and suspended due to the “exceptional” circumstances surrounding the case.

Callum Ross, prosecuting today at Liverpool Crown Court, explained Friend had been jailed after admitting causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

He said: “At around 12.30pm on November 9, 2019, the appellant himself rang the ambulance service and stated he was going to self harm unless he got the help that he needed.

“Whilst on the phone he then claimed to have killed a dog.”

Mr Ross explained that police attended and “found a dog clearly in significant pain with a kitchen knife lodged about three inches deep into the upper back or neck area”.

He said the dog was still alive and was “clearly shaking” having wet itself.

Mr Ross explained Friend had left the home and was on his way to a police station to hand himself in while still on the phone to the ambulance service.

When officers arrived, Friend told them “I have killed my mum’s dog”.

Mr Ross said: “The dog was taken to a local vets as it was still alive at the scene but died later in the day already having been revived multiple times.”

The court heard that Friend wasn’t interviewed following the offence as he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

Friend has two previous convictions for three offences.

In July 13 he was convicted of inciting a girl under 13 into sexual activity and was handed a two year sentence, suspended for two years.

In 2018 Friend was jailed for failing to comply with notification requirements during the operation of a suspended sentence and was jailed for 16 weeks.

Judge Gary Woodhall, detailing the case, explained Friend’s mum had been present the previous evening when Friend said “he was having visions of harming her so she felt it necessary to leave the home, being aware of the appellant’s mental health problems”.

The judge added Friend is “clearly someone who has been mentally unwell for some time”, noting his first diagnosis.

Judge Woodhall said: “Despite the appellant being aware of his mental health problems the appellant had ceased using prescribed medication for about 12 months before the commision and was using alcohol to self medicate.”

The judge noted that since the offence he had engaged with services and was now receiving regular medication for his diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia.

Judge Woodhall said despite his mental health difficulties at the time Friend “exercised appropriate judgement” to “make rational choices”.

The judge said Friend was assessed as “a low risk of reconviction and a high risk of harm” adding that a pre sentence report goes on to say that the “risk is unlikely unless there is a change in the appellant’s circumstances”

Judge Woodhall, along with two magistrates, ruled “there are exceptional circumstances in this case which require the court to suspend the imposition of a custodial sentence”.

Friend was handed a 10 week sentence suspended for 12 months and ordered to complete 40 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days.

He was disqualified from keeping, or being party to an arrangement of keeping any animal for 10 years.