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Former Magistrate Hit Dog With A Hammer And Threw Body Into River

A former magistrate has been given a suspended sentence after admitting to killing his dog because it was "getting on his nerves".

Molly the German Shepherd was killed by her owner, 71-year-old Melvyn Hall, when he hit her in the head with a hammer, tied a washing cord around her neck before being dumped in the River Tyne in England's North East.

The RSPCA was alerted after her washed up body was found on December 6.

Melvyn Hall, a former magistrate, was identified as the owner after the RSPCA was led tot he breed rescue group who had re-homed Molly in 2017.

Molly. Photo: RSPCA

When Hall was contacted by the RSPCA, he said Molly had died from a ruptured aneurysm, but couldn't remember the name of the local vet he had taken Molly to.

When questioned the next day, Hall initially told the same story, before admitting to the killing.

“He said he did it because she was following him around and getting on his nerves and he lashed out," said RSPCA Inspector Rowena Proctor.

“He showed me where he had done it, in his garden shed, and gave me the hammer he had used.”

The hammer Hall used. Photo: RSPCA

In court he admitted to two offences of causing unnecessary suffering to Molly.

Hall changed his story again during an appearance at Teesside Magistrates' Court. Hall said he had accidentally hit Molly with the hammer while trying to hit a mouse, and cradled her body until she died. He did admit to not providing her with any veterinary treatment.

“A post-mortem found that Molly had several fractures to skull and evidence of haemorrhaging however it was unlikely these injuries would have caused immediate death," Proctor said.

“The vet said that the attack on Molly from the person who cared for her would have caused immediate distress, which would have quickly passed into suffering when she received the blow from the hammer."

A post-mortem wasn't able to determine the period of suffering Molly went through, but Proctor said the pain would have been "intense".

“They went on to say that the presence of the washing line and injuries to her neck, which were consistent with having been strangled, indicate that the owner was uncertain of the state of consciousness of Molly after she had been hit with the hammer," Proctor said.

Hall, who worked in the National Health Service for 46 years and as a magistrate for five years, was heard to be of " previous good character" during mitigation.

The District judge was reluctant to give Hall any credit for his plea because of the number of times his story had changed.

Hall was sentenced to 18 months in prison suspended for 12 months, a lifetime ban on owning an animal except goldfish and ordered to pay £1000 (AU$1,700).