A WOMAN was filmed drop-kicking a kitten like a rugby ball, before she sent the footage to friends.

Nicola Collinson, 21, targeted the young black and white cat after it wandered up to her in the street.

In the video, she is seen to pick up the kitten, throw it in the air and drop-kick it twice.

Collinson sent the clip by mobile phone to several of her friends.

She was charged with causing unnecessary suffering to an animal after a shocked recipient forwarded it to the RSPCA.

Collinson, of Parkside Avenue, Winlaton, Gateshead, pleaded guilty to the offence at Gosforth Magistrates' Court yesterday.

Clive McKeag, for the RSPCA, said: "This is what can only be described as a quite wicked case.

"This defendant took hold of the kitten and drop-kicked it, as if it were a rugby ball.

"The kitten got to its feet and went away and it was chased by the defendant, who picked it up again and brought it back and did the same thing again. Not only was it drop-kicked, but it was also punched. It was absolutely deliberate.

"What makes this all the worse is that someone was making a video on a phone camera. You hear laughing and joking.

"The video was then sent round various friends bragging about what happened."

The video is believed to have been made somewhere on the Cowgate estate, in Newcastle, on or before January 6.

After its ordeal, the kitten is seen to run away.

RSPCA inspectors have been unable to trace the cat or its owner to find out if it survived.

Collinson said she was drunk at the time.

She admitted kicking the cat, but said it was not her intention to hurt it.

Kevin Kivlehan, in mitigation, said Collinson had been suffering from emotional problems at the time, made worse by her drinking and taking drugs.

He said she was usually a caring person, and once even used her own money to rescue and rehome a neglected Staffordshire bull terrier.

He said: "The girl that you see in that video is very different from the young lady you have before you today. She has suffered from emotional difficulties, anxiety and depression throughout her life, until fairly recently.

"She has abused both drugs and alcohol and that has exacerbated the problem."

Magistrates adjourned the case for three weeks for reports.

The chairman of the bench said: "It is appalling that any human can do such a thing to another animal.

"It is unthinkable and no excuses can be accepted."

He said magistrates had considered imposing a jail sentence, but said Collinson might be given a community sentence because they felt she desperately needed help.