Man strangles girlfriend's kitten to death in boozy row

A man from Essex who strangled his girlfriend's kitten during a boozy row has been spared jail.

46-year-old Gary Pitcher killed 'Baby', after downing three glasses of wine and arguing with his partner.

He was found "covered in blood" when police arrived and told officers: "I have killed the kitten."

Basildon Magistrates heard police raced to the scene fearing an even more grim incident had taken place because the woman who dialled 999 said: "He's killed Baby."

Pitcher admitted causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and assaulting his partner by pushing her head with his open palm.

But he was spared jail after the court heard his actions on June 16 were "out of character".

He was handed a suspended sentence for 18 months, ordered to take part in a relationships course and pay £250 compensation.