'Despicable' farmyard prowler brutually mutilates Northamptonshire show horse with kitchen knife - but is only sentenced to two months

Reece Reed was found in a chicken coop"unclothed below the waist" and brandishing a kitchen knife.
Reece Reed was found in a chicken coop"unclothed below the waist" and brandishing a kitchen knife.

A man who mutilated a winning Northamptonshire show horse by stabbing it 20 times could only be sentenced to two months yesterday - because the attack counts as 'criminal damage"

Reece Reed did, however, receive an additional six months in prison for carrying the knife he carried out the attack with.

It means the 19-year-old was jailed yesterday (November 18) for a total of eight months after the disturbing attack at a Wellingborough farm, in which he prowled around the grounds with a kitchen knife.

In his sentencing at Northampton Crown Court, His Honor Judge Michael Fowler expressed his distaste at how the law meant he could only hand Reed a two-month sentence for the mutilations.

The grotesque incident began on a morning in April 2018 when the farm owner in Wellingborough was alerted by a burglar alarm at 7.30am.

Prosecutor Priya Bakshi told the court: "He ran to the summer house to investigate. There he found a shovel, and saw one window had been pried open and another had been smashed.

"He peered through the window. There, he saw a man with a six-inch kitchen knife inside the chicken coop."

The farmer scared off the armed man - Reed - before searching his stables to see if any animals had been hurt.

It was then that he found his daughter's prize-winning miniature show horse Sol. His back legs and rear had been stabbed 20 times and he was bleeding heavily.

Additionally, Reed had cut the wings off of three chickens. They had to be put down.

In court, the judge heard how Sol was a prize winner worth over £3,000 and was on track to becoming a champion show horse.

But following the attack, Sol was rendered unfit to compete ever again.

In a victim impact statement read out in court, Sol's owner said: After I learned that Sol had been hurt I was devastated and heartbroken.

"Sol was and is my best friend and he will always be part of the family."

Reed - who was unclothed from the waist down when he was first spotted in the chicken coop- later pleaded guilty to the offence. His defence barrister, Osmun Munir, said the 19-year-old was "remorseful and expresses sympathy for the family".

But in sentencing, Judge Fowler was unable to jail Reed for more than two months over the mutilations - because the attacks were charged as "criminal damage" rather than, for example, animal cruelty.

He told Reed: "This episode can only be described as wholly despicable. The charges that you face today do not reflect the wickedness of your behaviour.

"This has been treated as if it were criminal damage against two inanimate objects. It isn't. And it is in my view and error that ought to be corrected."

As a result, Reed was handed a two-month sentence for the mutilations and six months for carrying the knife, which he will serve in a young offenders' institute.

It comes after how, in December last year, the infamous Northampton Cat Killer - who dismembered more than half-a-dozen family pets across the town in a three-month spree - could only be jailed for three months in respect of those mutilations.