Wednesday 12th May 2010 - Aylesbury Crown Court
A warrant has been issued for the arrest of the
disgraced horse dealer James John Gray, who disappeared from Aylesbury
Crown Court during a break for lunch.
James Gray attended Aylesbury Crown Court this morning, but this afternoon disappeared he left his whole family to face the court without him and had to be sentenced in absentia.
Last Thursday 6th May 2010, James Gray lost his appeal against his conviction for horse welfare offences. Last year, James Gray was sentenced to 24 weeks in jail and given a life ban on keeping horses.
Today, that sentence was increased to 26 weeks in jail
and a hearing on costs was to be considered at a later date.
James Gray absconded from court leaving his family to hear their sentences. His wife, Julie, (42) and daughters Jodie (27) and Cordelia Gray (21) were also unsuccessful in their appeals. They will each have to complete 150 hours of community service and are banned from keeping equines for 10 years.
James Gray Junior (17) has to complete a 18-month supervision order and is banned from keeping equines for 10 years.
RSPCA inspectors discovered more than 100 horses, ponies and donkeys and the bodies of a further 32 equines at Gray's property — Spindles Farm near Amersham — between Friday 4th January 2008 and Wednesday 9th January 2008.
If you see James Gray, call Thames Valley Police urgently on 08458 505 505 or call Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555 111.
The judge added: "None of you has shown any remorse.
You continue to protest your innocence in the face of overwhelming
Speaking after the sentencing, RSPCA inspector Kirsty Hampton, who investigated the case, said James Gray was a coward for failing to return to court to be sentenced.
She said: "I'm really pleased that the sentences have been upheld. James Gray Senior and Junior in particular showed no remorse whatsoever.
"I think it was cowardly to not turn up for his sentence."
She said the abuse was the worst she was ever likely to see in her career.
James Gray has already been ordered to pay the RSPCA £400,000. A further costs hearing will take place later this year.
The sentences for his other family members were upheld, with Julie Gray and her daughters each given a 150-hour community service order.
Julie Gray and her son and daughters will only be able to reapply to keep horses after seven years, with Gray told he can reapply after 10 years.
James John Gray, his wife, son and daughter Cordelia are all of Spindle Farm, Amersham, while Jodie Gray lives in Park Road, Ashford, Middlesex.
James John Gray - A WANTED MAN!
(Photo © David Armitage)
when the court resumed after adjourning for the judge to deliberate,
Gray was nowhere to be found.
It is thought he walked past security guards and into the town centre, despite being told by Judge Christopher Tyrer not to leave the court building for the hour-long break.
Michael Fullerton, representing James Gray, was asked by the judge where his client was, and replied
"I have no idea.
James Gray, who was convicted along with his wife and three of his children following the neglect at Spindle Farm in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, was sentenced in his absence to 26 weeks in prison.
Sentencing Gray to the maximum possible sentence, Judge Tyrer said: "What the court has been listening to is an horrendous case of animal cruelty.
"It is the worst case ever experienced by the RSPCA. In our judgment, this was animal cruelty on a scale that beggars belief.