A MAN has been sent back to jail for biting off the head of a snake in front of his two sons.

A judge at Teesside Crown Court yesterday described Barry Laverick’s actions as a “summary execution”.

The 41-year-old was appealing against his fourmonth sentence for causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

The court was told that Laverick, of Sunniside, Coulby Newham, Middlesbrough, was at the home of his full-time partner, Victoria West, and their sons, aged 12 and two, when he bit the head off a 50cm-long pet corn snake.

Laverick was originally sentenced at Teesside Magistrates Court on April 14 on the animal cruelty charge and for assaulting Ms West.

He was serving four months concurrently for both crimes, but returned to court yesterday to appeal against the length of the sentence.

Jacqui Edwards, prosecuting, said Laverick had been drinking when he came into Ms West’s home, in Linfield Ash, Coulby Newham, on April 6.

Laverick told Ms West she would not be able to move her snake or the family dog in a planned house move, adding: “That dog’s only going if it’s stuffed.”

He became increasingly aggressive and called the family to the foot of the stairs where he held the snake Ms Edwards said Laverick threatened to bite the snake’s head off and added: “His 12-year-old son was screaming for him not to do it, but the appellant bit the snake’s head from the body and two-year-old started to scream.

“Victoria West describes herself as being in shock and found herself placing the two parts of the snake into the tank.

“She effectively told him to get out of the house, but he began pulling her hair. The eldest son took the youngest into his arms.

“She was in fear and struck Laverick twice in the face but was too frightened to call the police.

“He called to the dog and said, ‘if you think that’s bad wait ‘til I cut the dog’s head off’.”

Laverick was arrested the following day.

Robert Mochrie, defending, said Laverick, who was unemployed, had been frustrated after a job had fallen through after a single day’s work and had subsequently had too much to drink.

He had no previous convictions for violence, but minor drink-related offences, the last nine years earlier.

He said: “Is there any chance of a repeat? I would submit not, your honour. I don’t say that because there’s not a ready supply of snakes. He describes himself as a man who likes to keep out of trouble and has no past convictions for violence.”

Judge Howard Crowson rejected the idea that magistrates had imposed a too lengthy sentence.

He said: “This was particularly gruesome. It was not merely the work of a moment’s loss of control.

He called for people to come to the bottom of the stairs. Both children were then present and it was a summary execution.

“It is hard to conceive of a more gruesome act in front of his son. It seems to me 16 weeks is entirely justified.”