A MUM who dumped the bodies of dead animals she was supposed to cremate in fields has been jailed for eight months.
Emma Bent, 35, of High Edge Drive, Heage, was led from the dock sobbing after being sentenced last Wednesday.
The mother-of-three had pleaded guilty to seven counts of fraud for failing to cremate pets – two of which were dogs belonging to Ilkeston familes – and 14 counts of breaching environmental regulations.
The court heard how Bent never acquired a licence to run her home-based cremation service despite having a contract with Ambivet in Heanor to dispose of dead pets and running a private cremation business.
When her incinerator broke in August, 2009, she carried on taking pets, despite having no means of disposing of the corpses. Many family pets, including dogs and cats, were discovered in bags dumped in fields in Denby and Lower Hartshay.
Families whose pets were found dumped also attended the hearing.
Angie Moore, 50, from Kirk Hallam, whose Labrador Sam was found in a field in Lower Hartshay, said after the case: “We still cannot fully understand why someone would do such a cold-hearted and evil thing to what were much-loved members of our families.”
Barbara Lambert, of Catherine Avenue, Ilkeston, had received ashes for her terrier Nip. His remains were found in Bent’s shed.
She said: “It’s a strange feeling – it wasn’t one of those moments where we shouted ‘yes’, when she was sent to prison.
“We are all so numb at what’s happened. It shouldn’t have happened.
“I am pleased she has gone to prison but I cannot forgive her.”
The court heard how she invoiced Ambivet more than £91,000 between November 2006 and August 2009 for her cremation service, and disposed of 2,838 pet carcasses.
And passing sentence, Judge David Pugsley described Bent’s actions as ‘calculated’ and ‘sinister’.
He said: “At the end of the day I cannot see that anything other than an immediate prison sentence can be passed.
“Yes, one deals with cases of fraud, but there is a fundamental difference between frauding someone by selling them designer T-shirts and violating people’s emotions by saying that you are going to cremate an animal and leaving it rotting.
“This is not about money, this is about deception.”
Gurdial Singh, defending, said that as well as being a mother-of-three, Bent was also a full-time carer for her husband. He said her failure to obtain a correct licence for her business was a result of ‘ignorance’ rather than malice and she was petrified at the thought of custody.
Ambivet accepted a formal caution as the producer of clinical and hazardous waste to Bent, because it failed in its duty of care to ensure that the waste it gave to Bent was appropriately disposed of by an authorised person.