Dateline: 3rd March 2015
Alan Barnfield Jailed for Outraging public decency in Shetland Pony sex case
A judge at Sheffield Crown Court jailed Alan Barnfield for 4 years after he was convicted of outraging public decency. He had been accused of having sex with two Shetland ponies in 2012, but was acquitted on those charges as no definitive evidence of intercourse could be adduced.
Prosecutor Louise Reevell said:
"It is at this time the prosecution say that intercourse took place out of sight in a dark wooded area at the end of the paddock."
On arrival, the police apprehended Mr. Barnfield. His rucksack was examined and was found to contain a length of electrical cable, a dog chain, cans of Lynx deodorant and two bottles of Lucozade. His phone was also taken and found to contain images and films of bestiality.
A sample of DNA was taken from Barnfield and found to match one of the horses.
Barfield, of Doncaster, South Yorkshire, maintained that he was "just out walking" and denied sexual intercourse with an animal and on that charge he was acquitted. However, the court heard there was evidence of sexual assault on the horses.
Sentencing Barnfield to 4 years imprisonment, Judge Kelson told Barnfield:
"What you did to Sky changed her personality completely and caused her extreme pain. Sky was traumatised, she is a living creature who you caused great pain to. There is no credit to you whatsoever. You lied through your teeth to the jury. The outrage to public decency is enormous"
Jodie Walton, Sky's owner provided a victim impact statement to the court stating that her behaviour changed and she now shook and trembled and kicked out at people. She told how she had had been forced to give Sky to a friend so the pony could 'start afresh and get her confidence back'
A strong argument can be made that Barnfield's sentence is too long according to law and those who feel his sentence is too lenient should be prepared when and if his sentence is reduced on appeal. According to section 69 (no sniggering) of the Sexual Offences Act of 2003, the maximum sentence for sexual assault on an animal is two years. Legal opinion seems fairly clear that his sentence will be more of the order of 18 months on appeal.
Any case involving animals is emotive. Many people feel strong emotional bonds to their pets or animals, seeing them more as companions than 'mere beasts'. As shown in this instance, legal weight was given to a victim impact statement given on behalf of the horse by her owner.
At Weird Island, we take no stance on the emotional awareness of animals. Cases for and against the existence of sexual trauma in animals could easily be made and it is beyond our scope or knowledge to consider them. However, we would note this: if we accept that a horse can understand the concept that it has been raped, we wonder what that means if a horse is raped by another horse - as surely must happen?