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Brothers who tortured animals on camera and 'terrorised' New Forest residents jailed

Two brothers who filmed themselves torturing animals and "terrorised" residents in the Hampshire area have been jailed for a total of eight years and eight months.

Siblings Kristen Cooper, 24, and Todd Cooper, 29, were sentenced to jail for assault, animal cruelty and possession of offensive weapons.

Videos found on Kristen's phone showed the pair harming various animals during the night, which a vet called the "worst case of animal cruelty" they had seen in 24 years in the profession.

The younger brother caused suffering to deer and hares and in some cases he would encourage dogs to attack the wild animals.

Kristen admitted seven offences of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, and was disqualified from owning a dog for 10 years. He was sentenced to two years in prison in relation to these charges.

Todd admitted an animal cruelty offence that involved him and his brother holding down a deer while he struck it over the head with a blunt object. Todd was sentenced to eight months behind bars in relation to the offence.

During their trial in August for assault and weapons offences, the court heard how the brothers, along with an accomplice, chased a man into a shop, pushed him to the floor and fired a catapult his way.

There were no resulting injuries from the incident, but the trio fled the scene.

On the evening of the same day, the brothers rammed an SUV into the back of a Vauxhall Astra - pushing it into a parked car - then vandalised the vehicle using a crowbar, baseball bat and a ball bearing fired from a catapult.

They were found guilty of two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, two counts of making threats to cause injury with offensive weapons and one count of criminal damage - and each jailed for three years in relation to these offences.

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Sergeant Paul Buckland, of the Criminal Investigation Department, said the incident would have been "extremely traumatic for the victims".

He added: "It is abundantly clear that these two men believed they could terrorise New Forest residents with impunity, with a total disregard for any consequences."

On the wildlife abuse, Angharad Thomas, Crown Prosecution Service Wessex Wildlife lead, said: "This was a shocking case, involving unimaginable violence and cruelty to animals on a level that I have, thankfully, rarely seen before."

Kristen's total sentence is five years, and Todd's is three years and eight months.

Both men will serve at least half of their sentence before being eligible for release on licence.

Kristen will also be subject to a criminal behaviour order for 10 years, and he and Todd are bound by a restraining order, to prevent them from having any contact with their two victims.