A TEENAGER who strangled a dog to death using a canvass belt after the owner refused to hand over a £150 ransom has been jailed.

Jerome Walker, of Peachy Close, Edgware, was convicted of blackmail, causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and resisting arrest, at Wood Green Crown Court, on Thursday.

Police said the 18-year-old had phoned the owner of the pet on November 24 last year, asking if he owned a dog called Lily.

The middle aged owner confirmed he did, but was not aware the family pet was missing. Only when he phoned his wife later was it confirmed the dog had wandered off.

Walker asked if the man would pay money for the safe return of Lily, and a sum of £20 was agreed to be handed over when the pair met outside the Royal Mail sorting office, in Manor Park Crescent.

The owner met with Walker and his dog, but was then asked for £150.

The victim claims he was told if he did not hand over the money, “you'll have a dead dog”. He offered £100, which he had on him, but Walker did not accept it and strangled Lily in front of the owner using a canvass belt that he had used as a leash, police said.

The Staffordshire bull terrier, which the owner had for four years since it was a puppy, was left dumped on the bonnet of a car and the victim in tears.

Officers from Barnet police traced Walker to his home address but when they tried to arrest him, he “resisted violently”, a statement said.

In sentencing, His Honour Judge Carr said Walker “saw the dog as a means of making money” and despite the defendant's age, he felt the a custodial sentence was appropriate given the “unpleasant and chilling” nature of the case.

Walker was jailed for three years for blackmail and given three months for cruelty to Lily. He will serve an additional two months for resisting arrest and has been banned from keeping a dog for five years.

Detective Constable Mark Bennett, from Barnet police, was in court with Lily’s owner when the sentence was passed.

He said: “This was a cruel and deplorable crime, the sentence reflects this.

“It is to the victim’s credit that, although he was satisfied with the sentence, he was sorry to see a young person wasting their life.”