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Tuesday 10 December 2019

Jake (6) 'blamed himself' after thugs set pet dog on fire

Pet dog was doused in petrol and set on fire - family have called for maximum two-year jail sentence for those responsible

Jake Agnew with Cody
Jake Agnew with Cody
Andrew Richard Stewart Credit:Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Owners of Cody the collie, Martin and Natalie Agnew Credit: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Joanne Sweeney

He was only a child of six when two evil men came into his life and turned it upside down.

Jake Agnew found out just how bad some big boys could be the day Andrew Stewart and Jamie Downey decided to set Cody, the little boy's much-loved three-year-old pet, alight.

"Jake blamed what had happened on himself for a long time, for about a year afterwards, because he had seen Cody in the back garden earlier that morning," his mother Natalie said.

"Just after that he went upstairs and had noticed the two boys walking down.

Andrew Richard Stewart Credit:Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Andrew Richard Stewart Credit:Brian Lawless/PA Wire

"He kept saying over and over to himself, 'If I had brought Cody in, then it wouldn't have happened.'

"He began to hate himself. He would look at himself in the mirror and think he was ugly and ask how could anyone like him.

"No matter what we said, he couldn't change his mind.

"His whole personality changed, but the counselling has really helped and we might still have to have it again after the sentencing."

Now aged nine, the young boy had to be prepared for giving evidence in court but thankfully he was spared that ordeal because of the guilty pleas.

Mrs Agnew and her husband Martin have focused their attentions on ensuring that their sons Justin (12) and Jake cope as well as possible with the aftermath of the traumatic incident.

"Justin has had nightmares ever since and is afraid of being on his own," added Mrs Agnew.

"Until you go through a situation like this, you don't realise the effect it can have, particularly the long-term effect it has had on them and the problems we are still dealing with."

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