Richard Coyle

Richard Coyle, a violent male transvestite, was convicted at Cardiff Crown Court in June 2023 of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, cruelty to a wild mammal, and breaching an order preventing him from keeping animals after being convicted of similarly grotesque animal cruelty in 2021. Coyle, 56, has previous assault convictions and was jailed for two years in 2006 for the manslaughter of a vulnerable man with alcohol issues, named David Dowden. Coyle was jailed for 18 months for the latest offences against an animal.

Coyle, an ex-boxer and soldier in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, was arrested at a house in Caerphilly, Wales in September 2022 and a mutilated female hedgehog was found in a box by his bedside. The unfortunate animal had cuts to her limbs and her abdomen was cut so severely that her intestines were protruding. She was still alive and covered in blood and a “white creamy substance” which may be a media euphemism for semen or may have been candle wax – previously Coyle had dripped candle wax into the eyes of another hedgehog that he burned and mutilated. Coyle himself was found in bed, naked from the waist down and wearing prosthetic breasts – see also the recently convicted trans-identified male paedophile Andrew Miller/Amy George who was also arrested wearing prosthetic breasts. With Coyle in the bed were women’s clothing and various other items including a cucumber, a vacuum pipe, a gas stove, a shard of mirror, binoculars held together by tape, and two lit candles. The hedgehog was taken to a vet but was too badly injured to save, so had to be euthanised.

Judge Rhys Rowlands said: “This was a deliberate and sadistic infliction of pain on a defenceless animal subjected to appalling cruelty at your hands…. This was just about a cruel a case as one could imagine and a mirror image of your previous offence.”

In August 2019, police had been called after what appeared to be a woman screams coming from a tent in another area of Caerphilly. The two police officers told Newport Magistrates’ Court they heard someone (i.e. Coyle) screaming ‘Help me! Someone help me!’ and an overpowering stench of burning flesh/hair that came from the tent. An RSPCA inspector described the injuries Coyle had inflicted : “the hedgehog had both hind legs severed completely and the front left leg was missing. The front right leg was also barely attached. The head – including his eyes and around the muzzle – was covered with candle wax. The spines around the top of the head and sides appeared to be burned/singed too.” The animal was taken to a vet, but was too badly injured and also had to be euthanised. Coyle received the maximum 26 weeks imprisonment, was disqualified from keeping all animals for 10 years and was ordered to pay £122 victim surcharge.

In 2006, Dowden denied murder and and was permitted to plead guilty to manslaughter at Cardiff Crown Court. The court heard that Coyle had repeatedly bullied and physically abused his flatmate, a vulnerable man named David Dowden, before killing him with a single punch. Mr Dowden, 35, (who had alcohol misuse issues that caused a blood-clotting condition) died in hospital from slow bleeding to the brain 18 days after his skull was fractured from hitting a wall. One witness told the court: “Popeye [Mr Dowden] would constantly complain that Coyle would hit him and take his money from him.” On the day of Mr Dowden’s death, “Popeye was crying and physically upset. He said that Coyle kept beating him up.” Despite having previous convictions for violence, Coyle was jailed for a mere two years.

The court also heard that Coyle’s military career was brought to an abrupt end after his convictions in 1989 for two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm following a fight at an engagement party.

Image via Gwent Police/Athena Pictures

Media reports

[Please be warned that some of the media articles below include graphic images of the animals Coyle mutilated]

Wales Online archive

Daily Mail archive

South Wales Argus archive

Wales Online archive

South Wales Argus archive

Wales Online archive

Wales 24/7 archive

Daily Star archive