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Man's dognap mission ends in court

PUBLISHED: 16:40 09 October 2008 | UPDATED: 11:58 03 July 2010

ARMED with his favourite pair of garden secateurs, Martin Milner embarked on a mission to get his friend's dog back from another woman by cutting its lead while it was being taken for a walk.

ARMED with his favourite pair of garden secateurs, Martin Milner embarked on a mission to get his friend's dog back from another woman by cutting its lead while it was being taken for a walk.

The 60-year-old confronted Ivana Doralece as she walked black poodle Abby in a Lowestoft street and then tried to cut the lead as a struggle ensued.

Ms Doralece fell to the ground and attempted to hang on to Abby, but Milner grabbed hold of the lead and made off with the dog.

On Friday, Milner, of Station Road, Cantley, appeared at Lowestoft Magistrates' Court and pleaded guilty to assaulting Ms Doralece, who was left with a small cut to her hand.

Colette Griffiths, prosecuting, said Ms Doralece knew Abby's owner Janet Clarke, from Oulton, who was taken into care for mental health problems.

Ms Doralece, from Lowestoft, agreed to look after Abby, but things turned sour when Ms Clarke later wanted the dog back and asked Milner to intervene. He confronted Ms Doralece while she was walking the dog in Dell Road on July 12.

Mrs Griffiths told the court that Ms Doralece said Milner made slashing movements with the blade, which led to the small cut on her hand.

“The victim stated that Abby was hers and that Mr Milner had no right to take the dog away from her,” added Mrs Griffiths.

“She was on the ground, but kept hold of the lead. Mr Milner forced the lead from her hand and made off with the dog.”

Richard Mann, for Milner, described the case as “odd” and said his client was pleading guilty on the basis that he used secateurs and not a knife as had initially been reported, and did not intend to hurt Ms Doralece.

“We are dealing with a low level common assault,” said Mr Mann. “He is a friend of Janet Clarke, who wanted the dog back.”

Mr Mann said Milner agreed to try to return Abby to Ms Clarke as a favour and took his secateurs with the intention of cutting the lead.

“He would say there was no knife involved,” added Mr Mann, who described Milner as having “slight” mental health problems.

The court heard that Ms Clarke was now back at home and living with Abby.

Magistrates gave Milner a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered him to pay total costs and compensation of £160.

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