Women face charges over Cody attack

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Two women appeared at Lisburn Magistrates Court last Monday, charged with offences in relation an attack on Cody the dog, who was doused in petrol and set alight, back in 2012.

Sharon Stewart, 54, of Waverley Court, Lisburn and Caroline Harper 45, of Chestnut Hall Avenue, Maghaberry, are both accused of perverting the course of justice and obstructing police by providing false information about the movements of Andrew Stewart and James Downey.

Both are due to appear before Craigavon Crown Court in January, to enter pleas to the charges.

Sharon, is the mother of Andrew Richard Stewart. Andrew, of Wellington Parks, Maghaberry, who was sentenced to ten months in prison last year, after admitting to animal cruelty during his trial.

Jamie Downey, of Meadowfield Court, Aghalee, was also sentenced last year, in relation to the attack. He is the nephew of Caroline Harper and he was given a six-month term, half of which was spent in prison, for perverting the course of justice.

At the time of Cody’s attack, in August 2012 Stewart and Downey had gone for a stroll round Maghaberry to walk off the effects of alcohol when Cody attached herself to the duo.

She followed them from outside her own home to a nearby quarry where the two men played fetch with the dog. But when Downey went to urinate, Stewart doused the animal in diesel and ignited her coat.

The dog made her way back home after the attack but had to be put to sleep a fortnight later due to the severity of her injuries.

The dog was so badly burned that her ribs and other joints were visible through her badly charred flesh.

More than 70,000 people supported the Justice For Cody Facebook campaign.

The jail terms handed down to the two men, were the first custodial sentences to be imposed in Northern Ireland under animal cruelty legislation that came into effect in 2011.

At the time of Andrew Stewart’s trial, last year the judge told the court the attack was both ‘evil and vile,’ and ‘beyond comprehension.’

Stewart was banned from owning or keeping any animal for 30 years. He was ordered to pay Cody’s owners compensation of £2,600.

Jailing Downey, the judge said he had provided his friend with a ‘concocted alibi’ through a sense of ‘misguided loyalty.’

The judge rejected claims that Stewart was sorry for what he had done.

“In this case there has been no remorse,” he said. “In my view, the recent expressions of regret are merely evidence of self-pity.”