Robert Payne, who up until 2011 was a Bradford City Councillor for Keighley West was sent to prison for two years on Christmas Eve 2013 for tax fraud. It seems that he had created false documents to generate fictitious VAT or income tax return for various companies that he owned
The relevant guidelines are the Fraud Sentencing Guidelines (starting at page 27). It’s not clear exactly how it would be calculated but it is probably classified as not being fraudulent from the outset, but carried out over a long period of time with multiple frauds. On the basis that he was hoping to obtain £140,000 this has a starting point of 2 years with a range of 1-3 years.
Although, in fact, only £91,243 was obtained, given the serious breach of trust, the creation of false documents and the fact that Mr Payne had no accountancy qualifications, this raises the seriousness that may explain why a sentence of 2 years was passed, even with a guilty plea (which on the face of it seems over the odds).
The news reports aren’t entirely clear, but it seems that Mr Payne has a previous conviction for something pretty similar, which is clearly an aggravating feature.
As for the kittens? Well, in 2011 (whilst on a suspended sentence for the previous fraud) Mr Payne was sent to prison for 5 months for animal cruelty. It seems that whilst drunk (and annoyed at something) he took his frustration out on four kittens that he had recently bought. He “swung the four-month-old cats round his house [and] broke their skulls and most of their limbs and decapitated two of them.” When they attended, “Police and RSPCA officials found three kittens in a freezer and blood spread around the house”.
Mr Payne, who “was drunk when police arrived, told officers he “must have got angry about something, picked up one of the cats by its stomach and used it as a battering ram, smashed its head against something“.
This previous conviction would be an additional aggravating feature (although not as much as the previous for fraud).