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Last Updated: Friday, 24 August 2007, 13:06 GMT 14:06 UK
Bricklayer 'bites head off snake'
A Royal Python
A specialist said the snake would have had a very traumatic death
A bricklayer bit a pet snake's head off during a row with his girlfriend, it has been alleged at a bail hearing.

Shane Harte, 33, then threw the snake's head at his girlfriend, Northern Ireland's High Court was told.

Harte, from Moss Road, Keady, County Armagh, is charged with cruelty to the Royal Python and causing grievous bodily harm to his girlfriend.

The 33-year-old denies assaulting the 21-year-old and biting the snake, but admits killing the animal.

Mr Harte's girlfriend told police that he had head-butted her twice and also bitten her pet snake's head off.

"It was a small, thin snake which had been a birthday present and cost 80," said a crown lawyer.

She added that Harte's girlfriend told police she had seen Harte lift the snake from a tank, hold it in both hands and put it in his mouth to bite it in two.

Pizza

"She ran into a pizza shop next door to seek help and a witness who was in the house went into the kitchen and found him cutting at the snake with a knife," said the crown lawyer.

The snake was subsequently examined by a specialist who said it would "have suffered a very traumatic death and would certainly have felt a great deal of pain".

Mr Justice Stephens refused bail.




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