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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Face of the yob who swung a cat by its tail: Man, 20, hands himself in to police after he is caught on CCTV

-RSPCA inundated with calls from shocked animal lovers naming suspect
-Brother of 20-year-old suspect says 'If it's him, he's an idiot'
-CCTV shows footage of Mowgli being spun 14 times by the tail
-No serious injury but now black cat is too afraid to leave the house

By Liz Hull

'Trouble-maker': Riain Richards, seen here in a social networking image, has been named as the man who handed himself in to police in connection with swinging Mowgli the cat by its tail

This is the youth allegedly filmed on CCTV swinging a cat around by its tail.

Riain Richards, 20, yesterday handed himself in to the authorities.

He walked into a police station with his solicitor after being identified as the prime suspect by animal cruelty officers from the RSPCA.

The charity was inundated with calls naming Richards as the alleged culprit after sickening images of a two-year-old tom, named Mowgli, being spun around emerged earlier this week.

Yesterday Richards was interviewed by an RSPCA inspector, before being freed. They will decide over the coming weeks whether to prosecute the youth under animal cruelty legislation.

Richards, who lives with his building surveyor father, Andrew, 60, in a three-bedroomed detached property in Ramsgate, Kent, refused to comment when confronted by reporters last night.

Safe and well: Michelle Buchanan holds her cat Mowgli, who is recovering at home in Ramsgate following the ordeal

However, neighbours claimed he was a tearaway who had gone off the rails following the death of his mother, Dawn, last year.

One said: ‘Riain is a trouble-maker. He has damaged cars, has young girls to the house and is always playing loud music. One night people came and smashed all the windows in his house.

‘His mother died last year after falling down the stairs. His father is a nice man, but he can’t control Riain. He is away working from Sunday to Friday. We hope this will mean he will finally leave the street.’ Photographs of jobless Richards on the social networking site Bebo show him drinking and apparently smoking cannabis joints with his friends, who he describes as ‘potheads’.

Last night it also emerged that Richards’s half-brother, Ross Hammond, 31, is serving a life sentence after being convicted in April 2003 of sexually abusing and murdering a baby.

Jade Hart – the 13-month-old daughter of Hammond’s then girlfriend – died of a brain haemorrhage. Hammond had inflicted 117 separate injuries on her, leaving her with a broken leg, fractured ribs and a black eye.

Richards is accused of swinging Mowgli around by his tail at least 14 times during the early morning attack last month.

The 17-second clip, taken from CCTV cameras installed outside a nearby pub, shows the thug dancing down the street as he is egged on by three friends, the cat’s head coming perilously close to being smashed into cars and railings.

His owner, Michelle Buchanan, 43, who was away from her flat at the time, said a neighbour who ran out and confronted the yob undoubtedly saved Mowgli’s life.

Shocking: This CCTV footage released by the RSPCA shows a man swinging the cat by its tail outside a pub in Ramsgate, Kent

Near miss: During the attack the cat's head nearly smashed against the pavement. The animal, named Mowgli, was left in a 'very distressed state'

Confrontation: Two passers-by appear to speak to the man but he continues to carry out the attack on the helpless cat

Distressing: The cat narrowly avoided a wooden post surrounding a green. The owner of the cat, who lives in a flat below the pub, is said to be too upset to watch the footage

Miss Buchanan, a community education co-ordinator, said she was ‘delighted’ by the news of Richards’s arrest. ‘What I wanted to happen has happened,’ she said. ‘I have received such amazing support. It’s incredible what people power can do.’

Hundreds had taken to social networking sites Twitter and Facebook to urge those who knew the culprit to shop him to police.

On Thursday officers from Kent police went to arrest Richards, but he was not at his home, near where the incident happened.

Yesterday a former school friend of Richards – who attended Charles Dickens Secondary School, in Broadstairs, Kent – said everyone realised it was him when they saw the footage. The friend described his actions as ‘absolutely unacceptable’.

Richards voluntarily attended Margate police station shortly before 9am yesterday



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