Carlisle women sentenced for torturing and killing friend's pet singing parrot

Tracy Dixon (left) and Nicola Bradley (right) will spend 25 months in jail for killing friend Paul Crooks' parrot Sparky. Credit: Cumbria Police

Two women have been jailed for torturing and killing their friends' pet parrot.

Tracy Dixon, 47, and Nicola Bradley, 35, covered friend Paul Crooks' African grey parrot Sparky in cleaning products before trying to feed her to the dog and chucking the bird in a switched-on tumble drier.

Sparky, who often entertained Mr Crooks and his other friends by singing the national anthem and soap theme tunes, was found dead with a snapped neck on 30 July last year.

The women tried to blame each other for the parrot's death but they were both found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal at Carlisle Magistrates' Court last month. They will now spend the next 25 months behind bars after being sentenced at a hearing at Carlisle Crown Court on Monday 29 August.

The court heard that Dixon and Bradley were collected from a night out by Mr Crooks and taken to his home in Carlisle at around 5:30am on 30 July last year.

The women carried on drinking as Mr Crooks went to bed. He awoke at 8:30am to find they had been messing around with shaving foam which had gone over Sparky's cage.

The mess was cleaned and Mr Crooks left the house to go shopping, telling the women to leave his parrot alone.

However, when he returned he found the woman wearing his clothing with Sparky unresponsive and unrecognisable, her head hanging limply out of a cage.

Confronting them, Mr Crooks learned the parrot had been covered with Mr Muscle, Brasso, furniture polish, daubed in gloss paint, and also hit with a tea towel. The women also tried to feed Sparky to his dog before dumping him in a switched-on tumble drier.

Dixon and Bradley were sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court. Credit: ITV Border

Mr Crooks was told that Bradley had snapped Sparky’s neck with Dixon reporting the bird to be “gasping” when pulled from the drier.

The police were informed and both women tried to blame each other for the cruelty when interviewed.

After being found guilty, they will spend 25 months in prison and have been banned from owning or keeping animals indefinitely.

In an impact statement, Mr Crooks spoke of since suffering from anxiety, panic attacks and struggling to sleep since the death of his parrot. “In terms of not having Sparky around any more it’s not been the same without her,” he said. “The house is so quiet without her now and she’s been a huge miss.”

Passing sentence Judge Archer said: “You, together, sadistically tortured and essentially killed Sparky. It is frankly beyond comprehension how anyone could treat an animal in his way.”

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