A 22-year-old man from Southend has avoided jail for what a magistrate described as one of the most disgusting attacks on an animal that he had ever seen in court. 

Darren Sovereign, an unemployed courier of no fixed address, was given a three-month suspended sentence, valid for two years, on Friday after his solicitor Reginald Letov QC told the court that Mr Sovereign has a crippling phobia of brick and metal – the two main building materials that make up most prisons in the United Kingdom.

Mr Sovereign was in court over an incident that took place at his Fairfax Drive home on the evening of 15th March 2016. 

According to court papers, the defendant consumed fourteen cans of export-strength lager, before becoming ‘agitated’ when his pet Yorkshire Terrier (name withheld) chewed up his last Lucky Strike cigarette.

Henry Rump QC, prosecuting on behalf of Southend Council Canine Welfare Sevices, added that Mr Sovereign had thrown his last full can of lager at the dog’s head which caused minor concussion, before viciously hurling him out of his window onto the street below. 

It is alleged that the defendant forgot that he lives in a ground floor flat. 

In his sentencing statement, magistrate Harvey Wigg said: ‘You had consumed alcohol until the point where you effectively had no control over your actions, and your vicious behaviour could have easily killed your dog.’

‘Animal cruelty of this nature would usually lead to a custodial sentence of at least three months, but on this occasion I have no alternative but to downgrade this to a three-month sentence that is suspended for two years.’

‘Both your solicitor and a psychological expert have confirmed that you suffer from Jewson’s Syndrome – a well-researched and recognised mental condition that leads to a crippling fear of brickwork, metal and a number of varieties of uPVC that can be found in double glazing installations.’

‘As most UK prisons are constructed from these materials, a custodial sentence would infringe your human rights. However, your suspended sentence will be accompanied a mandatory two-hour session with an anger management counsellor.’

‘As your dog has now been taken into protective custody, he will only be returned to you once you have attended this session.’

Animal welfare groups have slammed the magistrate’s decision.