Trial set after rabbit killed

A MAN has appeared in court accused of goading a dog into attacking his ex-partner’s rabbit and killing it by wringing its neck.

John Clarkson, of Westmoreland Rise, Peterlee, is also accused of assaulting his former partner, Patricia Moore, on the same day.

The incidents are said to have happened over a phone bill run up by Ms Moore’s 15-year-old daughter.

The attack on the rabbit is alleged to have happened at Ms Moore’s home, in Billingham, at about 10.30am on May 4.

The assault is said to have taken place in Peterlee later in the evening after Ms Moore gave the defendant a lift home.

Clarkson, 50, denied the offences.

Clarkson’s solicitor, Neil Bennett, asked District Judge Leo Pyle to hear the two charges in separate trials, saying they were two separate incidents.

But Judge Pyle, sitting at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court, ordered that the allegations be heard together.

Clarkson will return to the court for a trial, expected to last a full day, on September 20. He was granted unconditional bail.