A FACTORY worker from South Yorkshire has been jailed for four years after he was cleared of having sex with a Shetland pony but convicted of outraging public decency.
Alan Barnfield, 44, was accused of having sexual intercourse with a pony called Sky in a field near Doncaster, in 2012.
Judge Peter Kelson QC told Barnfield he believed the jury had come to the verdicts it had because it believed a sexual incident with the animal took place in the field but could not be sure that actual sexual intercourse had occurred.
Judge Kelson suggested it was possible that horse DNA got on to the defendant’s penis if he was masturbating while abusing Sky in a different way, including with a cider bottle.
The judge pointed out that, while the outraging public decency charge was only added halfway through the trial, it actually carried an unlimited sentence whereas the main charge he was cleared of - intercourse with an animal - carries a two-year maximum.
The second charge was added when lawyers in the case realised that Barnfield could only be found guilty of the central charge if he had actually inserted his penis into the animal and that he would have to be aquitted if this could not be proved.
Judge Kelson said the case was “unique and repulsive” and that Barnfield has an “utterly disgusting perversion”.
Prosecutors told the jury at Sheffield Crown Court that police were called to a field near the village of Loversall, South Yorkshire, in the early hours of August 8 2012.
Officers spoke to Barnfield because concerned residents thought he may have been trying to steal Sky and another pony in the same field, Savannah.
Later, after both animals were found to be injured, Barnfield was arrested and horse DNA was found on his penis.
He told the jury he was just out for a walk and had only stroked and fed the bigger pony, Savannah.
Barnfield also claimed that he was carrying three cans of deodorant because his medication made his sweat and not, as prosecutors claimed, to take away the “horse smells” after his abuse of the animals.
The police called to the scene said the defendant smelt strongly of horses and was sweating profusely.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, Sky’s owner, Jodie Walters, said the pony’s personality changed after the incident.
Ms Walters said the pony would shake and tremble when she was led near where the attack happened and “would just stare as if she was fixated on something”.
She said she eventually had to give Sky away so she could have a “fresh start” somewhere else - something which was “heart-wrenching” for her six-year-old son.
The court heard that Sky had serious injuries to her genital areas to the extent that a vet had to subdue her before he could even lift her tail.
Today Judge Kelson told Barnfield: “The jury are sure that the incident overall occurred. But they are not sure that you inserted your penis into the Shetland pony called Sky.”
He added that the verdicts were “wholly understandable”.
Judge Kelson told Barnfield he had asked himself whether he should limit his sentence to the two-year maximum which applied to the intercourse with an animal charge of which Barnfield was cleared. But he said there was no “logical, legal or jurisprudential” reason why he should.
He said the case was not just about “the pain and suffering you caused to the ponies, particulary Sky”.
“It became to me much more about outraging public decency than it did solely about your own utterly disgusting perversion,” he told Barnfield.
“It is clear that what you did to Sky changed her. It caused her extreme pain.”
The judge said he was sure Barnfield used a cider bottle for part of the abuse and that he tried to lead away the other horse, causing her injuries too.
He told the defendant he had “lied through your teeth to the jury”.
And he said: “The outraging of public decency was, in my estimation, enormous.”
The court heard that bestiality images were found on Barnfield’s phone.
Barnfield, of Hexthorpe Lane, Hexthorpe, Doncaster, was living in the Balby area of the town at the time of the offence.
He dressed entirely in black for the trial and told the jury he suffered from OCD and was on medication for his blood pressure and taking painkillers.
Barnfield, who works in a deodorant factory, said a motorbike accident had also left him with mobility difficulties.
Barnfield, who has long dark hair and a goatee beard, showed no emotion as he stood in the dock and was then led away.
The judge apologised to the jurors for the nature of the evidence they had to sit through during the week-long trial.