Judge allows pet cat to ’emotionally’ support defendant at court

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By Katie King on

Defendant’s feline friend observed court proceedings from a shopping trolley


An alleged stalker has adopted a unique method to calm his courtroom jitters — bringing his pet moggy to the hearing.

Judge Charles Gratwicke gave the defendant, Aiden Wiltshire, 72, permission to bring his cat Taylor into Chelmsford Crown Court. The black cat — notoriously unlucky — was wheeled into the courtroom in a shopping trolley.

Wiltshire is reported to have sat in the dock, stroking his trusty companion as the cat watched proceedings from his trolley.

Gavin Burrell, defending Wiltshire on two charges of stalking, said his client was “someone who suffers with health issues and is emotionally supported by his cat”. He continued:

It’s a crutch which he relies on. It’s in a basket and not roaming free. I appreciate it sounds somewhat odd but there’s documentary evidence that the cat does provide emotional support for the defendant to cope.

The story has prompted a mixed reaction from keen legal commentators among the Twitterati.

Rebecca Herbert, from 36 Bedford Row, applauded the judge’s actions, tweeting:

Whilst Olivia Potts of 5 Paper Buildings was less convinced that her cat would provide the emotional support needed to get through a criminal trial:

Wiltshire is yet to enter a plea and his case has been adjourned until the new year.

As the defendant left the court, the judge joked “don’t let the cat out of the bag”. See — judges are people too.