Couple plotted to stab dog breeder in stomach in dead puppy revenge attack
A couple plotted to stab a dog breeder in the stomach in a revenge attack after she sold them a puppy which died, a court has heard.
Chelsea Rees fell asleep and missed the stabbing, but boyfriend Michael Kingston went without her and plunged a knife into their victim when she opened her front door.
Swansea Crown Court heard Rees had wanted to stab the dog breeder 13 times - one for each puppy in the litter - and wanted her to suffer and feel pain. The couple have been locked up for five years each.
Georgia Donoghue, prosecuting, said that in August this year Rees and Kingston bought three puppies from a litter of 13 bred by a woman in Swansea called Hayley Stoker. The dogs cost a total of £2,450. However, within days the couple said one of puppies became ill and when they contacted the seller asking for help with the vet bill she told them she was away in Birmingham.
The court heard the couple claimed the puppy died the following day - with Kingston saying the pup's stomach "exploded" - and they blamed the breeder. The prosecutor said the dog breeder told the couple the puppy had been healthy when she sold it.
The court heard that on August 22 Miss Stoker returned to Swansea from Birmingham, and the following evening there was a knock at her front door - when she answered she found Kingston on her doorstep. The prosecutor said Miss Stoker later reported seeing the caller putting his hand in his pocket then "thumping" her in the throat, something which caused her to stumble backwards and put her hands to her neck. The woman then saw a "silver" object in Kingston's hand and when she removed her hands from her throat she saw they were covered in blood. The victim managed to close her front door and call 999. Police were soon on the scene, and found Miss Stoker had a knife injury to her throat.
The court heard that the following day police received a call from a friend of Rees saying she was making threats to stab Miss Stoker in the stomach, and threats to kill her. Rees was subsequently found in an intoxicated state at the Vetch community park in Sandfields with a suitcase containing clothes and three knives. She later said she wanted to "finish off" Miss Stoker.
Kingston was arrested and initially answered "no comment" to all questions asked before requesting a break and then telling officers he had gone to the house to stab Miss Stoker because one of the puppies had died due to her breeding. He said he had waited until it was dark to knock on the door because he didn't want any children living nearby to see what was going to happen. He added: "It's not fair - she was not feeling the same pain as the dogs did".
In her interview Rees claimed the puppies they had bought were "in-bred" and one had died while the other two had to be put down, and that her feelings had then "boiled over".
She said she wanted their victim to "scream in pain" as she was stabbed 13 times - one for each puppy in the litter - adding: "I hope she is hurting; I hope she is in pain". She told officers she had fallen asleep and so had missed the actual attack but when she heard what had happened she was glad.
In her victim impact statement Miss Stoker said the doorstep attack had left her "living in a world of fear", suffering with anxiety, and feeling "alone and isolated".
Michael Kingston, 31, of Brunswick Street, Swansea, had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm with intent, inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent, and possession of a bladed article when he appeared in the dock for sentencing. He has previous convictions for three offences including one for arson as a juvenile but none for violence.
Chelsea Rees, 26, of Pedrog Terrace, Mayhill, Swansea, had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm with intent, making threats to kill, and possession of bladed articles when she appeared alongside her co-defendant. She has 15 previous convictions for 33 offences including multiple batteries, common assaults, and assaults on police officers.
John Allchurch, for Kingston, said though the defendant had not expressed any remorse during interview they were his instructions that his client was now expressing such a sentiment. He said Kingston had mental health issues, and had spent time in Swansea's Cefn Coed Hospital.
Andrew Evans, for Rees, accepted the pre-sentence report on his client made "disturbing reading". He said the defendant had grown up in care from the age of three, and later turned to drink and drugs as a result of "traumatic experiences" in childhood. He said Rees was an intelligent young lady and was seeking answers to explain why she had lived her life in the way she had so far.
Judge Geraint Walters said it was clear the defendants had agreed upon a "revenge attack" on the dog breeder as they believed she was responsible for what happened to their puppies, and that they had intended to cause the woman grievous bodily harm. He said Kingston had then drunk alcohol for "Dutch courage" before carrying out the attack while Rees had fallen asleep and so missed the incident itself. With discounts for their guilty pleas both Kingston and Rees were sentenced to a total of five years in prison.