Men sentenced after we uncover our third illegal slaughterhouse . . .
Despite their own admission in court of running their barbaric operation for over 15 years, Harold and Michael Gray were sentenced to only 3 months in prison at Harrogate Crown court on 7th April 2005. They were also banned from keeping sheep and cattle for 5 and 10 years respectively. A third man, Sumaullah Patel received a 2 months prison sentence.
During the trial the judge said that the animals had been slaughtered using incompetent and botched methods and they had recklessly disposed of waste material risking serious contamination and endangering humans and other animals. He added he felt completely satisfied that the defendants had caused ' pain and distress' to the animals.
Our illegal slaughterhouse investigations began back in 2000, when we exposed a sickening operation on a farm in Norfolk. Our investigators secretly filmed farmer Mark Gathercole clumsily hacking at the throats of live sheep in a filthy ramshackle shed, before chopping up the meat and selling it on to scores of curry shops and butchers across the country. After handing our video evidence over to the authorities, Gathercole pleaded guilty to 20 charges of animal cruelty and running an illegal slaughterhouse. He we sentenced to three months in prison and banned from keeping sheep and goats for life.
Then our investigation team travelled to Ripon in North Yorkshire in 2002 to track down Michael Hawkswell who was illegally slaughtering sheep in a shed using blunt knives. Our team infiltrated Hawkswell's operation and we secretly filmed him as he held down sheep and goats while his counterpart Isap Lakha hacked at their throats leaving them dying in agony.
Hawkswell boasted that he sold the diseased meat to Indian restaurant owners who disguised it with sauces.
The two men were convicted of cruelty to animals. Hawkswell was sent to prison for four months and Lakha for two months. The horrified Judge who sentenced them said at Harrogate court: "The operation was squalid and cruel. These animals' distress was considerable." Read More . . .
In both cases the authorities praised Hillside for the professional way we handled our investigations.
The authorities had apparently spent £250,000 investigating our latest case without a positive result. It cost Hillside around £2000 to investigate this and secure the damning evidence which brought this cruel illicit operation to an end. It is as a direct result of your support that we were able to fund this operation.