Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

The Mary Chipperfield Trial: the trial

Posted: 10 January 2006


The case started on Monday 18 January. Mary Cawley was charged with 21 offences: Charges 1-12 related to three incidents involving beating the chimpanzee Trudy ("cruelly beat, ill-treated or by unreasonably doing any act which caused unnecessary suffering to an animal"). Charges 13-15 related to the beating of a camel, Jasmine, with a broomhandle. Charges 16-18 related to "Permitting unnecessary suffering to be caused to the elephants". These concerned allowing Gills to beat the elephants (Rosa, Tembo, and Opal).

Charges 19-21 "Failed to provide reasonable care and supervision in respect to the elephants". This meant that even if Cawley had not known the full extent of Gills’ violence, or the way the animals were kept, they had not actually taken appropriate steps to protect the animals in their care.

Roger Cawley faced seven charges. Charge 1 related to whipping and beating the sick elephant Flora in the practice ring ("cruelty beat, ill-treated or by unreasonably doing any actwhich caused unnecessary suffering to an animal"). Charges 2-7 were the same as Mary’s charges 16-21.

The prosecution case was put by barrister Charles Gabb and the defence by Anne Rafferty QC assisted by barrister, David Whittaker, as second chair.

Five of the AD team had been called as witnesses: Jan Creamer, Tony Pattinson, Tim Phillips, Terry Stocker and Rachel White. The ADs arrived with the hundreds of video tapes, photographs and negatives. The day was spent reviewing evidence and the statements of Jan Creamer, Tony Pattinson, and Tim Phillips were accepted and they were released as witnesses.

The case opened on 19th January 1999 with the prosecution giving background to the AD investigation, the way the animals were kept at Croft Farm and the incidents to which charges related. The prosecution described a culture of violence at the farm and that even though they knew that Gills was violent the Cawleys still left him in charge of the elephants.

The court was shown AD photographs taken of Trudy the day after a beating by Mary. These showed red marks across the chimp’s body.

AD Field Officer Terry Stocker then gave evidence about the investigation and the court began to watch several hours of video footage from Court Tapes 1-5.

Some five hours of violence was shown to the court, much concerning Gills, with the public and press galleries wincing and gasping as blows rained down on defenceless animals.

Extremely distressing scenes of animal cruelty included three occasions where Mary beat the young chimpanzee Trudy as she tried to force her into a tiny box for the night; hitting Jasmine the camel with a large stick; and Roger forcing Flora, a sick elephant, around a training ring, whipping her to make her go faster. The court also saw the Cawleys hitting elephants and camels with various weapons including whips, pitchforks, metal bars, fibre glass rods, even a bucket.

Roger Cawley was seen in an incident in which he repeatedly struck sick Flora across the back with an iron bar, whilst Charles Chipperfield hit her at the same time with a fibreglass rod. The Court saw the Cawleys whipping and hitting camels, including blows to and around the face.

Yet more video footage was shown to the court notably a tape of Mary beating Trudy which the AD’s legal team had enhanced at a forensic services laboratory. The court also saw video of Terry Stocker informing Mary Cawley that Gills had beaten an elephant called Tembo.

Terry Stocker again took the witness stand. He described the violence he had seen, that other staff were aware of it. He described in detail the conditions in which Trudy was kept and the attacks by Mary Cawley on her. Video was also shown of Terry reporting to Mary how Gills had beaten the chicken to death. He pointed out that Gills had a violent record (he had served eleven years for manslaughter). Videos had been submitted to the court showing Gills threatening Terry for informing on him, and also of Mary informing Gills that Terry had told her how Gills had killed the chicken.

AD Field Officer Rachel White then took the stand and spoke of the violence she had seen, the way the animals were kept and the general attitudes towards them. Rachel had looked after Trudy for much of the time she had been at Croft Farm and so was ideally placed to describe her treatment, but bizarrely the prosecution had become confused and concentrated the questioning on the elephants.


In her cross examination, Anne Rafferty attempted to paint the animals as aggressive and vicious. This was a recurrent theme, as if to say "they deserved what they got". Rachel explained that the animals were simply playful at times, but not aggressive. Rachel also pointed out that Gills hitting the elephants could be heard all over the farm (this was supported by video).

The prosecution then began to call their expert witnesses. Disappointingly, despite that it is fully detailed in our report The Ugliest Show on Earth, and subsequent evidence tapes, the experts had not been passed detailed information on precisely how the animals were kept. Therefore issues of husbandry became almost pointless.

Professor Donald Broom, an animal welfare expert at Cambridge University, took the stand. He viewed the footage of the treatment of Trudy, Jasmine and Flora and confirmed in each instance that the animals were feeling pain and suffering.

It was stressed how sensitive the skin of elephants was and that they could feel a fly land on their back. Elephants are particularly sensitive around the head, trunk and on bony joints, all areas which appeared to be targeted during attacks at Croft Farm.

Professor Broom returned to the stand to be cross-examined by the defence.

During the cross examination, the defence attempted to stress that Mary had saved Trudy’s life by hand-rearing her and that Trudy’s brother, Teddy, had attacked her; therefore keeping her alone was the best thing in the circumstances. The key elements emerging as the Cawleys’ defence were that this was ’good animal husbandry’ and ’the animals were misbehaving, even being aggressive’ (Trudy was having a tantrum and Jasmine the camel was stubborn and belligerent. When Roger Cawley whipped the sick Flora it was claimed that this was for her own good; Cawley was exercising her.

The case hinged on what force was ’necessary’ to get the animals to do what was wanted of them. If the animals did not respond to one command then the defendants would use increasing levels of force.

Much of the cross examination concerned the assaults on Trudy, and Donald Broom repeatedly asserted that the treatment and force were excessive.

Next, chimp expert Jane Goodall took the stand. She described the first video of Mary beating Trudy, From the beginning the sounds I heard indicated extraordinary distress from the chimp... I heard whimpering and screaming of distress. Part of this is fear. The temper tantrum part is common in young chimps, but Trudy stops when picked up and hugged. That’s why this makes it very different from a real temper tantrum. I suggest the chimp was very frightened".

Describing the end of the tape, She’s crying, a small chimp infant, like a child, plunged into darkness, frightened and alone. To me this is very cruel".

Jane Goodhall was shown AD photographs of the conditions in which Trudy was kept. "Shows chimp in distress with a hunched back the typical position of a chimp who has lost its mother. There are no toys or enrichment in the cage. A young chimp has an active enquiring mind as do young children. How can she learn about the environment in this barren, sterile, cruel environment?"

There were various questions on the way Trudy was kept, with the defence pressing that given limited options, Mary Cawley did the best she could.

Next veterinary surgeon John Gripper took the stand. He had examined Flora at Dudly Zoo (to which she was later sold by Mary Chipperfield Promotions). He described ulcerated ears, muscles wasted on the spine and multiple abscesses all over the body including the tail - she was extremely sick.

The court saw AD video of Flora collapsed in her pen the day after Roger Cawley had whipped her in the ring. The next day she was taken from the pen, led by Gills, but reluctant to move, she stopped in the elephant shed. Charles Chipperfield began to hit her repeatedly with a fibre glass rod. Roger Cawley joined in, hitting her across the back with an iron bar, using both hands to bring the blows down. Flora’s hind legs buckled slightly under the blows, but she moved on to the practice ring.

Video was shown of incidents on 21st, 22nd and 24th January, both Mary and Roger hit Flora during training sessions. John Gripper described this as cruel. During the training session on 24th January, Flora’s wounds were treated in the ring, but she was still hit at least ten times. John Gripper described all of these incidents as cruel.

He also described the treatment of Jasmine and Trudy as cruel - especially the blows to Jasmine after she had got up.

Then came the bombshell for the ADs. The magistrate asked John Gripper to comment on the length of time the elephants were shackled and the way they were kept generally. John Gripper was willing to do so, however, the defence objected that they had not been served with any statements from John Gripper or anyone else on this. The magistrate asked to be presented with this evidence three times. The prosecution said they would not be presenting expert testimony on this.

The ADs had brought these groundbreaking charges - encompassing the elephant husbandry - which could have had a far reaching impact for all captive elephants. We had supported them with expert testimony and video evidence - all of which had been submitted to the court when the summonses were obtained. When the CPS took these and other summonses from us (as the request of the Cawley’s solicitors) they clearly took no further action to prosecute them successfully, nor did they even call the experts or present their statements.

Although it was never to be disputed during the case that the elephants were chained for most of every day and all day on some occasions, with no experts to say “this is cruel", a conviction for this was now a near impossibility. A chance to define the law the way captive elephants can be kept - had been simply thrown away by the CPS.

The defence began their cross examination of John Gripper by saying that Flora was off her food, she needed exercise, so to get her to do so a stick was used. John Gripper responded, "It’s a question of force. If any animal won’t move, you can use a stick but you don’t have to beat the hell out of it". The defence asked John Gripper to concede that the whip was being cracked in the air and on the ground. Gripper said that in some cases yes, but in others the animal’s response clearly indicated contact.


Ian Redmond, a wildlife biologist, who had also examined Flora at Dudley Zoo, then took the stand. He confirmed her sick condition. It had been pointed out in the prosecution’s opening that the elephants never had water to bathe in and were rarely washed. Ian Redmond was asked how important it was for the elephants to bathe, he replied “ Very, sometimes two times a day. They will look for water in which to submerge or to use their trunks in captivity..."

He said of Flora’s treatment: "Pain as a means of exercising an elephant is wrong". He believed that "Gills should not be used as a scapegoat" and that the Cawleys "should be prohibited from training or keeping animals ever again".

Jim Cronin of Monkey World, where Trudy was being held under police seizure (PACE), was called by the prosecution. He said "It is inappropriate or cruel to beat chimps. It is counter-productive". Sadly, he had not read the relevant section of The Ugliest Show on Earth, nor had he been given detailed video and photographs of the chimpanzee housing so was unable to comment broadly on the way the chimps were being kept. From what he had seen he described the environment as "disgusting, deprived, heartless and cruel, cold. Entirely tragic thing to do to a chimp".

AD Field Officer Rachel White, who had filmed the Flora whipping for which Roger Cawley had been charged, was recalled to verify which elephants were trumpeting during the video.

Before the prosecution was concluded, the ADs served papers on the CPS from our legal advisors regarding the failure to present evidence on husbandry saying that there was a chance to rectify this. The CPD did not respond. We were at the halfway mark, and so the case for the prosecution was concluded.

Anne Rafferty QC then addressed the court to try to undermine the case so far.

Of Trudy, she said that Mary was attempting to restore routine and discipline after returning from a break. This was in fact inaccurate - Rachel White and another worker, Virginia Winter, never had trouble putting Trudy "to bed". She also stressed that although people might not like keeping a chimp in a dog transport cage at night - it was not illegal. She said that the crown’s experts had not visited to take photos or obtain plans (which were produced in evidence by the ADs and made available to the CPS). Rafferty claimed that Mary had saved Trudy when her mother rejected her saying that the fact that "the chimp lives reflects good husbandry".

In the cases of Flora and Jasmine, Rafferty claimed the defendants had only done what was necessary within the boundaries of their legal profession.

The Magistrate then had to decide whether the prosecution had proved there was a case to answer on each charge before it proceeded to the next stage of the trial.

With the charges concerning Trudy he felt there was a clear case to answer and these would proceed. With Jasmine and Flora, he felt this was less clear. The defendants were allowed to cause suffering necessary to make the animals do what was demanded of them. However, had they inflicted more suffering than they needed to? Roger Cawley had whipped Flora to make her move faster and Mary continued to beat Jasmine when she was on her feet and moving. The Magistrate concluded there was cause to answer. He said he was unsure that the Cawleys were fully aware of Gill’s abuse of the elephants but that they were on notice of his actions, through AD Field Officers’ warnings, so may have failed to take appropriate action. He therefore concluded that all the charges relating to permitting suffering and failure to protect the elephants should proceed.

After adjournment, the first defence witness was vet William Allen, a Professor of Equine Reproduction at the University of Cambridge. During questioning, Allen admitted that he is pro-hunting, his work centres around embryo transplantation in horses and camels, he thought camels were a kind of horse with a hump, and that he employed women to do work that involved kneeling down because for a man to do so would break his legs! He began salivating with praise for Mary’s whipping technique on some camels exclaiming she had "lovely ability to make a whip crack - wish I could do that". Under cross examination, he claimed that "if I hit in anger it is violent - if I hit in frustration it isn’t violent". Asked what size of stick he would think suitable to use on a camel, he replied “a piece of two by two".

It was clear from the Magistrates comments earlier that the question was, were Mary’s final blows to Jasmine, when she was already up and walking "necessary"? The prosecution asked: "once on their feet, do camels tend to move forward at their own speed?" Allen replied “Yes". Gabb then asked “Jasmine started to walk and was still struck. Were the further three blows necessary?". Were the further three blows necessary?". Allen replied “Yes, to make it go forward". Gabb countered, “Before the blow was struck, it was already moving forward". To this Allen said “Not in a realistic sense".

After Allen had said “it’s not cricket” to hit a camel in the face, the prosecution showed video of Roger Cawley striking a camel hard in the face with a fibre glass rod and the animal reeling away. Almost the entire court winced, however, Allen described it as a “tap".

Many of those present were amazed that here was someone with apparently even more extreme views than Mary!

The sentencing

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