'Despicable' abuser from Peterborough stalked partner and killed her two dogs

Mugshot of Matthew Stark from Peterborough.  He was jailed after abusing his girlfriend and killing her two dogs.  Photograph issued by Cambridgeshire Police.
Matthew Stark killed his partner's dogs. Credit: Cambridgeshire Police

A "despicable" abuser has been jailed after he stalked his partner and killed her two dogs.

Matthew Stark, 42, poisoned and strangled the two animals - named Ronnie and Tiki - in September while his partner was out at work.

Peterborough Crown Court heard that Stark had been abusive during the relationship, and that his partner believed her would kill her.

She had stayed with him until he harmed her beloved dogs - calling it the "final straw".

Stark pleaded guilty to controlling/coercive behaviour and two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal. He was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison.

The woman told the court that she had known immediately something was wrong when she arrived home from work, as her dogs did not run to the door to greet her as usual.

She found them both unresponsive in their beds, covered in faeces.

Despite rushing them to the vets, Ronnie and Tiki could not be saved.

The vet reported that the dogs could have been poisoned and that there was bruising around their chests and necks.

The victim fled to a friend's address and told the police that she had been living in fear of Stark, believing that he would kill her.

She told police that six months before the dogs were killed, Stark, from Dogsthorpe in Peterborough, had assaulted her and that his campaign of abuse had started to worsen.

He downloaded an app on his partner's phone so that he could track every move she made, and would constantly quiz her about who she was with and what she was doing.

The court heard that he had isolated her from her family and friends, leaving her feeling she had no one to talk to.

Det Con Rebecca Corder who investigated, said: "Stark’s actions were despicable and beyond cruel.

"He is a dangerous man who, thankfully, has been brought to justice.

"We continue to work tirelessly to protect survivors of abuse and bring offenders before the courts.

"I’d encourage anyone in an abusive relationship to seek help."

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