Brothers filmed themselves torturing animals

Two brothers have been jailed after they filmed themselves torturing and mutilating animals in a series of 'sadistic' and 'horrifying' videos.

Kristen and Todd Cooper used their phones to record themselves stabbing a deer in the eye, and encouraging a dog to bite a hare.

During one depraved incident, the pair mutilated the genitalia of a deer - to the extent that officials could not tell if it was male and female.

The pair were described as showing 'cruelty beyond comprehension', with one vet saying it is 'the worst case of animal abuse' he had seen in his 25 year career.

Kristen, 24, and Todd, 29, also filmed videos of them abusing deer in the picturesque New Forest National Park, Hants, in 2021 and 2022.

The violence wasn't restrained to animals, as in a separate incident they attacked a mother and son with a baseball bat and crowbar, after crashing into their car.

The violent brothers have now been jailed for a total of eight years and eight months - with Kristen being jailed for five years, and Todd being jailed for three years and eight months.

The duo stabbed a deer in the eye on camera, causing an 'extreme level of suffering', Southampton Crown Court heard.

They held a hare by its head and encouraged a dog to bite it in another twisted video.

Other footage showed deer being dragged by their antlers, having appeared to have suffered spinal injuries from possibly being hit by a car.

One piece of the footage showed a man raising a wooden object above a helpless deer's head as if he was going to strike it.

At Southampton Crown Court, a vet who had to review the videos said it was the 'worst case of animal abuse' he had seen in his 24-year career.

'These images will stay with me forever,' he said.

Kristen and Todd were caught after police seized Kristen's phone containing the shocking videos.

Kristen was charged with seven counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal with Todd being accused of one count.

After appearing at court for these offences and being released on bail, just days later the pair were caught again having attacked a mother and her son outside a Co-Op in the New Forest village of Bransgore on March 4 last year.

In a video shown in court, the pair can be seen with a third unknown man, ramming another car before getting out and attacking the vehicle with a catapult, a crowbar and a baseball bat.

The victims of the attack later gave evidence at trial with the mother saying she 'genuinely believed they wanted to kill us'.

On Friday, prosecutor Stuart Ellacott told the court the animal abuse was 'sadistic', adding that the animals were in 'distress and suffering'.

Aleks Lloyd, defending Kristen - who has eight convictions for ten offences - said this is the first time his client has been in custody, adding that he 'appears to be getting his head down and getting on with it'.

Ruba Huleihel defending Todd - who has 24 convictions for 52 offences - said her client has ADHD and was exposed to violence from a very young age.

Judge Peter Henry sentenced the pair for a variety of offences committed in the New Forest and in Dorset, including actual bodily harm, criminal damage and threatening a person with an offensive weapon.

He said: 'One would have thought that both of you being brought up in the New Forest you would have had more respect for such defenceless creatures.

'It was being filmed, other people were present and other people seemed to find it all very amusing.'

Kristen, of Bransgore, was jailed for five years and Todd, of Lymington, was jailed for three years and eight months.

Kristen was also handed a a ten-year criminal behaviour order and was disqualified from owning a dog for ten years.

Both men were given restraining orders banning them from ever contacting the mother and son they attacked ever again.

Police Constable Sebastian Haggett, of Dorset Police's Rural Crime Team, said: 'These are without doubt some of the most horrifying offences I have ever investigated.'

Angharad Thomas, Senior Crown Prosecutor with CPS Wessex, said: 'The level of cruelty displayed in this case is beyond comprehension and the brothers showed an inexplicable disregard for the welfare of these animals peacefully existing in the wild.

'An expert witness for the prosecution described the actions of Kristen and Todd Cooper as the worst case of animal abuse they had ever come across in their 24-year veterinary career.

'The CPS welcomes today's sentence and hopes it sends a clear message that we will continue to work with the police to bring offenders of these disturbing crimes to justice.'