A CHARD man who bludgeoned a pet dog to death on a concrete step and then smashed down the door of an elderly woman’s house leaving her terrified while on a drink and drug fuelled rampage has been allowed to walk free from court after being given a suspended prison sentence.

Craig John Knight downed a bottle of vodka and then took some ketamine when he went to a block of flats and buzzed on the door of the woman who owned Snoopy, a 14-year-old Jack Russell.

When the dog escaped from her front door the woman looked out through her spyhole and was horrified to see the defendant slamming the animal repeatedly against the concrete steps.

Her partner went out to confront Knight but was then assaulted after being punched a number of times to the head.

The defendant then continued with his rampage, breaking down the door of an 83-year-old woman while she was making a 999 call to the police.

He ran inside saying American soldiers were hiding in the bushes and pointing guns at him and also claimed that the house belonged to him, Somerset Magistrates were told.

Knight, 31, of Henson Park, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, namely a dog, by bludgeoning it a number of times against a step on September 30.

He also admitted assaulting John Selway by beating him and, knowing that Dorothy Gammage was opposed to his entry, used violence to secure entry to her property in Henson Park.

Prosecutor Julyan Stephens said that the dog’s owner heard a buzzer at her block of flats at 10.30pm and allowed the person entry, but after opening her door she went back inside but her dog, a Jack Russell, ran out.

“She then saw through her spyhole the defendant who picked the dog up and then hit it repeatedly on the bottom of the step,” he said.

“Her partner went out to confront the defendant and there was a scuffle during which Knight pushed him and then punched him a number of times to the head causing a cut to the side of his face.”

Knight then went to another property belonging to an elderly 83-year-old lady and started to knock on the door. She thought it was her grandson and opened the door and he then barged into the property saying there were American soldiers in the bushes pointing guns at him.

“She told him she was going to call the police and asked him to wait outside, so he went out and she locked the door,” said Mr Stephens.

“She was terrified and didn’t know what was going on as she didn’t know the defendant who was clearly intoxicated but also seemed lucid.

“He then shouted that he was coming in and she heard the front door being kicked and he ultimately forced entry into her house but did not attack her, leaving her quite terrified.”

Mr Stephens said the defendant was clearly “not himself” during the incident but said the dog was struck against the step three times.

“He was an elderly, family dog, and did not go for the intruder but Knight just picked him up and hit him against the step.”

Defending solicitor Jeffrey Bannister said that there was no excuse for what happened and said that Knight was upset that night and had bought a bottle of vodka and some illegal drugs.

“He has no recollection at all of what happened because of the combination of substances he took and cannot offer an explanation as to what happened as his behaviour was delusional,” he said.

“However it was all self-induced as he used to have a problem with alcohol but had pulled himself out of that and had barely been drinking since, until that night.”

He said the offence came about because of the breakdown in Knight’s relationship as his partner had left him two days before the incident.

“She left him because of his gambling which had put the family under great strain,” he said.

A spokesperson for the Probation Service said that on the day in question Knight had been heartbroken and bought a 75cl bottle of vodka along with some cocaine and ketamine, and used it all.

“He has no memory of this offence and only remembers waking up in hospital and is thoroughly ashamed of himself,” she said.

“He was absolutely devastated at what he had done, cannot believe it and is in bits about what happened.

“He also has a gambling addiction and became addicted to online roulette, has spent the rent money several times and is currently around £6,000 in debt.

“It was not his intention to harm the dog but says he was completely out of his mind on drink and drugs and didn’t know what he was doing.”

The magistrates sentenced Knight to a total of 18 weeks in custody, suspended for 12 months.

During that time he was ordered to carry out 100 hours unpaid work and complete a 20 day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.

They also ordered him to pay a total of £981.62 compensation to Mrs Gammage, £400 to the owner of the dog and £100 to Mr Selway for the assault. Costs of £85 and a £115 victim surcharge were also imposed.