Women tortured African grey parrot by spraying bird with cleaning products

Two women have been jailed for torturing and killing an ex-soldier's African grey parrot after a boozy night out.

Nicola Bradley, 35, and Tracy Dixon, 47, doused Paul Crooks's beloved pet Sparky in cleaning products and put her in a tumble drier before breaking her neck.

They were jailed on Tuesday for 25 months at Carlisle Crown Court after previously being found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

Magistrates previously heard Mr Crooks cried after the death of the bird, which would entertain him with renditions of the national anthem and the Coronation Street theme tune.

Prosecutor Daniel Bramhall told the sentencing hearing the cruel pair daubed the bird with gloss paint and covered her with shaving foam and Mr Muscle polish.

They then threw her into a switched on tumble drier before one of them - said in court to have been Bradley - snapped its neck.

As they left the house where they did this, they told Sparky's unsuspecting owner they'd been 'wetting themselves' with laughter,' though they did not say why.

Judge Richard Archer told the two women: 'You together sadistically tortured and essentially killed Sparky.

'The way in which suffering was caused to that animal is shocking.

'It involved spraying her with cleaning products; it involved daubing paint on her; and it involved hitting her with a tea towel.

'It involved placing her in a tumble drier and turning it on and it involved, once the door to the tumbler drier was opened and Sparky was gasping for her last breath, one of you ringing her neck.'

The women made no effort to explain to Mr Crooks why they had done what they did and they sought to blame each other, the court heard.

During the trial before Magistrates, Mr Crooks described his horror at finding Sparky dead shortly after Bradley and Dixon left his home on July 30 last year.

He'd allowed the women, who had enjoyed a boozy night out together in Carlisle, Cumbria, to stay at his home after giving them a lift from the city centre.

Describing his pet, Mr Crooks said Sparky was a gift from a former partner and had lived with him for five years.

They all loved her and looked forward to seeing her, he said. Since his bird was killed, he had suffered panic attacks and sleepless nights.

Judge Archer said he had seen the photo of Sparky after she was killed, in which she was 'unrecognisable.'