Monday 22 July 2024
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Animal killer: Police describe ‘absolutely heartbreaking’ investigation that brought Daniel Taylor to justice

Nottinghamshire Police’s rural and wildlife crime lead, Chief Inspector Clive Collings, comments on the investigation after animal killer Daniel Taylor was locked up for causing barbaric suffering to wildlife by setting his dogs on foxes, badgers, deer, and pigeons.

Taylor, of Worksop, was heard in numerous videos he filmed encouraging his dogs to tear the innocent animals apart.

Trophies he kept – which included a horde of deer skulls, fox tails, and deer heads – were found by horrified officers when they raided his address on 24 February 2023.

Taylor was locked up for two years and eight months when he appeared at Nottingham Crown Court for sentencing on Thursday (7 March 2024).

The 32-year-old was also banned from owning, keeping, or participating in keeping dogs and was told it would be seven years before he can apply for a termination of this disqualification order.

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Taylor pleaded guilty to four counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, namely foxes, badgers, deer, and pigeons, by setting dogs on them.

These offences were committed in Nottinghamshire between 31 August 2021 and 21 February 2023.

The complex investigation which resulted in Taylor’s arrest, conviction, and sentencing was led by rural crime officers from the Bassetlaw neighbourhood policing team.

Gruesome discoveries were made after officers executed a warrant at Taylor’s home, in Shrewsbury Road, Worksop, on 24 February 2023.

PC Ben Harrison said: “At the back of Taylor’s premises we found what was essentially a slaughterhouse for animals. We found items including deer skulls, fox tails, decomposing deer heads, antlers, a bag of snares, and a blood-stained quad bike. 

“Taylor was located and his mobile phone was seized. That phone was downloaded and on that phone we found hundreds of shocking videos and images of different animals being slaughtered by dogs. 

“Taylor clearly took pleasure out of his dogs torturing these animals. They were clearly being trained to get hold of these animals and rip them to shreds.

“The videos were gruesome and the sounds of the animals squealing in pain were horrible. 

“On many of the videos you can hear Taylor almost narrating it and encouraging his dogs to attack and kill.

“In one particular video, while Taylor was filming one of these acts, he dropped his phone and it flipped over. He bent over to pick it up and it captured a full face shot of him. There was no question over who was doing the filming or who was the owner of these videos.” 

PC Mark Holland added: “I watched every single second of those horrendous videos and the first thing I realised was the level of violence. Those innocent animals were killed in the most barbaric way. 

“These were horrific and prolonged attacks which resulted in animals screaming in pain and being torn apart. It’s absolutely heartbreaking. 

“A lot of work went into our investigation and there was a lot of evidence to get through, including many hours sifting through the video footage and photos. 

“The data from Taylor’s phone, which was downloaded alongside the videos and images, was transferred over to our intelligence department and given to an analyst. They were able to map the images and videos to local areas. 

“From this we were able to prove when and where most of the animals were killed and link this evidence in with several reports of poaching. We also received intelligence which helped establish Taylor was in areas at the relevant times. 

“I was in regular contact with the Crown Prosecution Service as we built the file of evidence and we also worked closely with the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) and Badger Trust. 

“I feel extremely proud of how we’ve all worked together as a team and been able to get a decent outcome in this case for the community. It reflects the hard work we put in.” 

Chief Inspector Clive Collings, Nottinghamshire Police’s rural and wildlife crime lead, said: “The videos I saw in this case were sickening and horrific. 

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“It’s the most extreme case of animal cruelty I’ve come across in my 26-and-a-half years in the police. Just the breadth of Taylor’s offending, the length of time it was done over, and seeing the enjoyment he took out of the cruelty he inflicted on these animals. 

“I’d like to commend the officers and staff for their painstaking work in this case over 12 months, including an incredible amount of complexity to some of the bits done around the mobile phone footage and being able to track that to particular areas and people. 

“I hope the outcome in this case sends a strong message to people involved in this sort of crime that we are committed to pursuing them and ensuring we achieve a successful prosecution for the communities we serve. 

“It illustrates that we are listening to our rural communities and acting on the intelligence we are provided with and shows them we will take things to the extreme to get cases to court and ensure offenders are brought to justice.”

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