Jailed: Cruel woman who microwaved her pet kitten

Laura Cunliffe outside court. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
Laura Cunliffe outside court. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
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A SOUTH Yorkshire woman who committed “truly horrendous cruelty” by cooking her cat in a microwave to punish it for eating her goldfish has been jailed.

Laura Cunliffe, 23, of Hoyland, near Barnsley, was sentenced to 14 weeks in prison for her crimes at Barnsley Magistrates Court today.

The court heard that she put one-year-old black and white kitten Mowgli into her microwave and set the timer for five minutes - before coming to her senses after one minute, when she took the pet out.

She even poured water onto her kitten to cool it down - but the pet died around an hour later.

Jailing Cunliffe, District Judge John Foster told her: “This was an act of truly horrendous cruelty on your part to an animal that had come to trust you and rely on you and for which you had shown care.”

Prosecutor Brian Osborn told the court that on September 28 last year, Cunliffe was woken by her cat who jumped onto her bed, and when she went downstairs, Cunliffe noticed her pet goldfish was dead and immediately blamed the cat, the court heard.

Mr Osborn said: “Upon her discovery, she was upset and angry with the cat so she put it in the microwave.”

“She took the cat out of the microwave and put it on her kitchen side,” said Mr Orsborn.

“The cat was still breathing so she contacted her step-sister and took the cat to her house, where it subsequently died.”

Cunliffe’s shocking crimes only came to light when she checked herself into Barnsley Hospital the next day – for an unrelated matter – where she made a “tearful confession” to a nurse on the ward.

She was seen by two nurses, who both deemed her to be mentally stable despite a background of mental health problems, and reported the matter to the RSPCA.

An RSPCA officer then conducted an interview with Cunliffe’s step sister.

In mitigation, Mr Alan Greaves, defending, said that Cunliffe had a history of depression and psychotic behaviour and was prescribed three different types of medication.

But the court heard that Cunliffe had not taken her medication as it put her in a deep sleep and she was worried the cat would kill her goldfish.

Adding another reason why Cunliffe hadn’t taken her medication, Mr Greaves said: “She hadn’t taken her medication because the Queen had told her not to.”

District Judge John Foster handed Cunliffe a lifetime ban on keeping animals, adding that no appeal could be considered within the next five years. She was also ordered to pay £776 vet costs.