Horse owner fleeced by cremation conman

A KEWSTOKE woman who paid �920 for her beloved horse to be individually cremated has hit out at the duplicitous knackerman who instead dumped her pet into a mass incinerator with other animals.

Joanne Connolly was distraught when thoroughbred former racehorse Roxy died just before Christmas in 2008, and paid Bath man Phillip Cooper the huge fee to lovingly cremate the animal.

But Gloucester Magistrates Court heard this week that Roxy was one of many creatures deprived of the end their owners wanted.

Instead, she was dumped into a mass incinerator, and the remains Joanne later received were ‘random ashes ‘– or even ‘bits off the floor’, magistrates were told.

Cooper, aged 67, paid only �35 a tonne to a livestock rendering plant in Exeter, yet charged bereaved animal owners between �587 and �940 for ‘individual cremations’.

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This week, he admitted four charges of obtaining money by deception, plus other charges relating to livestock documentation, and was fined �17,000 plus nearly �12,000 in court costs.

And speaking in the wake of his sentencing, Joanne says she has been ‘sickened’ by Cooper’s conduct.

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She said: “All for the sake of money in his back pocket over Christmas he deprived Rox of the ending she deserved - to be at home for the rest of time with me.

“That man took advantage of people in vulnerable situations for the sake of his own greed.

“For one man to carry out this charade by giving me a casket with God knows what in it, which could be bits off the floor for all I know, and to say it is my horse is disgraceful and totally disrespectful.

“Picturing my beautiful girl being treated like meat has caused me so much distress.

“Now in my eyes she has no end, does not rest in peace and I cannot take comfort in anything. It makes me feel sick, the thought of it.”

Joanne said her only consolation is that, before her death, Roxy gave birth to a foal, Rupert, who is now almost three years old and in training to be a racehorse.

Joanne added: “Rox was stunning to look at and a very gentle nature. I had never come across one like her before and how we bonded!

“I had her for many years but she had a troubled past before I had her. She worked beautifully and gave me the perfect foal before her time was up.”

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