New features are coming soon. Login with Facebook to get an early start and help us test them out!
CONVICTED: Was justice served?
more information on voting
When you vote, you are voting on whether or not the punishment fit the crime, NOT on the severity of the case itself. If you feel the sentence was very weak, you would vote 1 star. If you feel the sentence was very strong, you would vote 5 stars.
Please vote honestly and realistically. These ratings will be used a a tool for many future programs, including a "Peoples Choice" of best and worst sentencing, DA and judge "report cards", and more. Try to resist the temptation to vote 1 star on every case, even if you feel that 100 years in prison isnt enough.
Monday, Aug 9, 2010
Defendant/Suspect: Derek Woods
Derek Woods was caught after police rigged up a paddock with secret cameras and alarms ten months after he first interfered with the horse called Amber.
Police swooped on the stable in Devon after the alarm sounded and Woods, 26, was caught red handed.
Officers had previously retrieved his DNA from semen at the scene but Woods was not on the database and was not immediately snared.
Glasgow born Woods admitted one count of having sex with a horse in February this year and two charges of animal cruelty in December 2009 and August 2010 at Clyst St George near Exeter, Devon.
When he was caught Woods had been on his way to a nearby farm where he had been living and had a warm Chinese takeaway meal with him - when he sloped off to the stable to interfere with the horse again.
Prosecutor Gareth Evans told Exeter Crown Court yesterday:"Maggie Hunt keeps two horses at a rural location close to Clyst St George, Exeter.
"The location is purely that of a paddock and a stable for two horses The paddock is accessed via a gate which leads directly onto a small country lane.
"In early December 2009 Mrs Hunt noticed that somebody had been entering the stable and interfering with her horse. The first occasion was on the 18th December when she found a male asleep in the barn - he was drunk and did leave when asked.
"Mrs Hunt also noticed that water containers and food bins had been moved from outside to inside the stable so she decided to examine her horse. She reported the matter to the police.
"Due to this incident various tactics were employed by Mrs Hunt and the police to try and put off the perpetrator or catch that person at the scene, these included fake CCTV cameras and an alarm which sounded when activated.
"Police were also instructed to pay passing visits to the location. However these tactics did not prove successful. On several occasions the camera was moved and Mrs Hunt was left in no doubt that the offender continued to attend the stable.
"On the morning of 4th February 2010 Mrs Hunt noticed injuries to her horse and what appeared to be fluid on the thigh of the horse."
After another incident in July when the horse was injured, the Devon and Cornwall police force's technical support unit installed a covert infa red camera and a wireless panic alarm usually used to domestic violence victims was used at the site, said Detective Constable Darren Campbell.
He said:"The alarm sensors were taken apart, camouflaged and fixed to the stable door and a tiny covert camera and infa red lamp set up inside with the power source and recording equipment hidden in a nearby tack room. After several false alarms and technical problems police finally managed to get the equipment set up correctly for this purpose
"On 9th August 2010 at around 11pm there was an alarm activation and police attended, they found Woods at the scene and he was arrested. During his detention his DNA was taken and submitted onto the database. Around 10 days later police had a match to the swab taken from the thigh of the horse.
A second swab proved that Woods had had sex with the horse.
Det Con Campbell said:"The CCTV showed Woods entering the stable and approaching the horse and he began to put his hand to the rear of the horse. Throughout the horse makes efforts to get away from him. Woods eventually gets the horse to stop moving and can be seen pushing his hand into the horse.
Woods then tries to get the bin behind the horse and kneel on it, however he is unsuccessful as the horse moves away. Woods then moves into the next stable and appears to try the same with another horse, the police then arrive who find him inside the stable and he is arrested
An experienced vet who attended said the animal showed signs of distress throughout the ordeal.
Jobless Woods, now living in Exeter, was sentenced yesterday at Exeter Crown Court.
His lawyer Niel Wraith said Woods was an 'isolated' man with a drink problem whereby he drank large quantities of Thunderbird - a a mixture of Buckfast tonic wine, Martini and coke.
The barrister said:"Woods is unable or unwilling to talk about the reasons behind his offending, it is difficult for anybody to fathom out what the reasons would be.
"He feels complete and utter shame at the position he finds himself in embarrassed beyond words. The case will hound him for some time to come."
Judge Paul Darlow gave him a 24 months supervision order with an alcohol treatment condition and banned him from a one mile radius of the victim's fields and stables.
The judge told him he had acted in a'deviant and depraved' way and caused distress to the horse.
He said if Woods went anywhere near paddocks, stables or fields with horses in them, the police would be very interested in that activity.