During a vicious row between Ryan Goodwin and his girlfriend Sarah Symons, Mr Goodwin flung a pet hamster out of a first-floor window, killing the animal.
Mr Goodwin, 23, an out-of-work chef from Plymouth, had been throwing Miss Symons’ personal belonging out of the window of his council flat after they had decided to separate.
He then taunted Miss Symons by dangling the hamster’s cage from the window. Miss Symons told the court, “He said ‘here, catch this’. Then he counted ‘three, two, one,’ and then dropped it.”
In Mr Goodwin’s defence, the court heard that he suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and episodes of ‘psychosis’, which he now receives treatment for.
His defence lawyer said: “He is a reckless young man who has difficulty controlling his temper in fraught emotional situations.”
Mr Goodwin admitted to animal cruelty and was also found guilty of using threatening behaviour towards Miss Symons.
He was given an eight-week sentence suspended for 12 months, with £400 court costs. He has also been banned from keeping animals for seven years.
District Judge Paul Farmer said: “If you had been sent to prison today you could have no complaint. What you did was disgraceful.”
Mr Goodwin was remorseful, especially as the pet-keeping ban means he will have to part with his dog Tyson.
But the couple have since reunited, and are living together again.
Mr Goodwin said: “I am remorseful for my actions, it was in the heat of the moment.
“We are all in relationships and we do crazy things for love. And I do love her very much. It was a moment of madness.”
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