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‘Puppy farmer’ who left dogs to die in ‘horrific’ conditions fails to turn up to court AGAIN

A “puppy farmer” convicted of cruelty to animal charges and fraud has failed to turn up at court for sentencing yet again, meaning it has once more been postponed and a bench warrant has been issued for her arrest on return to the UK. Louise St John Poulton was supposed to appear at Kingston Crown Court at 11am today (May 5). Instead she did not show up again, leaving the judge unable to sentence her on charges of fraud. The charges relate to the selling of unhealthy puppies to 24 victims prior to her puppy farm being exposed.

She is being sentenced for fraud potentially to the value of £300,000 after breeding puppies in horrific conditions which were riddled with disease and in some cases, which died within days of buyers taking them home. In one incident, a dog was left on the floor for a month with a broken hip, and another dog was found dead in a plastic bag on the premises.

When inspectors raided the puppy farm a white board was found bearing instructions to “keep the dogs quiet” by “squirting them” or “cracking the whip outside.” St John Poulter was previously found guilty and handed a suspended sentence as well as a ban on ever owning animals again.

READ MORE: Convicted fraudster and animal abuser is ‘frustrating justice’ and could travel ‘if she has the will’ sentencing court hears



Louise St John Poulton and partner Sean Kerr outside court in 2017

MyLondon is aware of at least three other incidences in which St John Poulton failed to attend a hearing she was ordered to, two of which involve her sentencing for fraud, and the other before her trial for fraud. Instead, St John Poulton has remained at her current residence de ella in Marbella, Spain, claiming she cannot travel to the UK for medical reasons.

The court received an email appearing to be from St John Poulton’s daughter Abigail in the early hours of this morning, reporting her mother had been taken to hospital in a state of unconsciousness. But prosecutor for the RSPCA Rowan Morton pointed out that St John Poulter has had similar health crises before every major hearing, including her own trial, all with little proof presented.

MyLondon reported in March that St John Poulton failed to turn up at a sentencing hearing scheduled for March 30, instead submitting a last minute request to move the hearing online instead of in person. But judge Anne Brown found she could not sentence St John Poulton while she remained in Spain, as the sentence was likely to involve incarceration.

The sentencing was put back until today, when St John Poulton did not attend again. She had submitted a request to adjourn the hearing once more due to a scheduled medical appointment on May 10. But she provided no evidence to support this when asked to by the prosecution, and her request from her was denied. Judge Anne Brown said: “There was nothing in that email to suggest she was medically unfit to attend.”

St John Poulter also claimed she had been unable to find a lawyer to represent her after telling the court in March her previous solicitor had refused to continue with her case, calling it a “professional embarrassment”.

The judge told the court if St John Poulton had been planning on attending today’s hearing, she would have “expected” her to travel to the UK by May 4 – but stressed she had no proof that St John Poulton had not been planning on catching an early flight this morning instead.

The prosecution counsel told the court of an email sent to her by St John Poulton at 3.40pm on May 4 which she said showed the defendant “had no intention” of coming to the UK for the hearing. In the email read to the court, St John Poulton questioned why the RSPCA was willing to spend £200,000 on a case “when I’m not even in the country”.

Ms Morton added, and the judge accepted, that there has been a pattern of St John Poulton not turning up to court when ordered to, and even several different alleged medical emergencies the day prior to the hearing date. This included before her trial for fraud in January 2020 which took place in her absence from her. On that occasion St John Poulton reported to a Spanish hospital after claiming to have collapsed at a train station on the way to the UK.

But Ms Morton stressed there has been little to no “independent evidence” of any of these medical emergencies, and St John Poulton has been able to get to hospital by her own means on each occasion.

Judge Anne Brown said: “She is a lady with health problems. We know that.” But she added that based on the defendant’s pattern of behavior and the fact she was not already in the UK by the early hours of this morning, she was left with no choice but to “look at the [defendant’s] email skeptically.”

Judge Anne Brown issued a bench warrant backed for bail for St John Poulton, meaning on her return to the UK she will be arrested and appear at a magistrates court, before being bailed prior to her sentencing. The judge ruled the defendant must turn in her passport and any ID of her, as well as her address of her at the Magistrate’s hearing.

The hearing has been rescheduled for two weeks time on May 19. The judge added if St John Poulton failed to appear again, the court would have to consider either sentencing her in her absence, issuing a European arrest warrant or a bench warrant not backed for dance.

She also ruled St John Poulton must provide evidence to the court about her most recent collapse, including a report from the hospital as to her health and how she arrived there. At the last hearing the court heard judge Anne Brown was not satisfied there were sufficient medical grounds to prevent travel, adding St John Poulton could travel to the UK if she “had the will”.

Her partner Sean Kerr was jailed for six months at an earlier sentencing hearing.

Do you have a story you think we should be covering? If so, email elizabeth.haigh@reachplc.com .

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