Daily Mail

Count shot wife’s dog dead with rif le, telling her: ‘He’s disgusting, no one likes him’

- By Claire Duffin

AN AustriAN aristocrat shot his wife’s dog dead during their acrimoniou­s divorce, telling her ‘nobody likes him’.

Count Konrad Goess- saurau, 70, said the German pointer named Herman had cancer and he killed the animal to put him out of his misery.

He claimed criminal proceeding­s over the dog’s death were motivated by his wife susan’s desire to obtain a larger settlement in their divorce.

But he was found guilty of criminal damage and fined £2,000 after magistrate­s were told the dog owned by the 53-year-old countess was healthy.

swindon Magistrate­s’ Court heard the couple had rowed on the morning of November 21 last year after the dog urinated in their home at temple Farm, near Marlboroug­h, Wiltshire.

Later that day, she found that Herman was missing and contacted her husband after checking CCtV that showed him taking the dog.

the countess said she called Wiltshire Police to report the incident after he told her: ‘i have put the dog down – he is disgusting, nobody likes him.’

the countess, who has been married to Goess-saurau for 26 years, told the court: ‘We had a heated discussion in the morning because he’d peed the day before…

‘Poor old boy needed putting down’

the dog had peed through the bannister on the landing on to the table below.’

Her businessma­n husband admitted shooting Herman but denied criminal damage. in a written statement given to a police officer in an interview, he claimed the pet had cancer and was in agony.

‘i admit that i shot Herman, my gun dog. i shot him humanely and buried him with my gamekeeper,’ it read. ‘i had to take the merciful route to end Herman’s suffering.’

But the countess, a master of foxhounds with the VWH Hunt, claimed Herman – who was purchased by her mother Brenda Williams for her 46th birthday – was healthy and happy. ‘He came riding every morning with me and out in the afternoon – he was averaging ten miles a day so he was very, very fit,’ she told the court.

‘it was such an awful thing to do. the dog didn’t deserve to die and it was my dog, not his.

‘i think he had plenty of life left in him. He was just an old dog that was slowing down a bit.’

Asked by Benjamin Newton, defending, whether it would assist in divorce proceeding­s if her husband had a criminal record, she replied: ‘it’s not something i considered. ‘i am determined to get justice for my dog, who didn’t deserve e to die in that manner.’ manner ’ Mr Newton said his client was a man of good character and had a lawful excuse to commit criminal damage. He added the countess had ‘broader matters at mind’.

the countess said previous family dogs had been taken to vets to be put down at the end of their lives, never shot.

Goess- saurau’s son Markus, from a previous marriage, said that at the time of the shooting, Herman had deteriorat­ed in old age and was ‘sore, stiff and limping’, i ’ adding ddi his hi body b d was covered d in ‘cancerous lumps’. He told the hearing: ‘there wasn’t a part of his body you could put your hand on where there wasn’t a bump.’

temple Farm gamekeeper Phil Holborow said: ‘[Herman] had lumps all over him and he was wobbly on his legs. the poor old boy looked ill. He needed putting down. i think he was suffering.

‘He [Goess-saurau] told me the dog crapped everywhere in the house. He said, “i think we need to deal with it.” He asked me to bury it, so that’s what i did.’ Ben Worthingto­n, prosecutin­g, said: ‘the defendant did not have permission to dispose of the dog in the way he did. He wasn’t at the end e of his life – he did not need to be b taken out and shot.’

He added the use of a rifle to kill the t animal in a ‘revenge attack’ was w an aggravatin­g feature.

Chairman of the bench Beverly Payne returned a verdict of guilty, saying: ‘You must have known that would have upset your wife.’

Adding the offence had a ‘high degree of planning’, Miss Payne imposed a £2,000 fine. Goess-saurau was also ordered to pay £620 costs and a £200 surcharge.

the millionair­e landowner, a former member of the Austrian Olympic eventing team, moved to the uK to indulge his passion for training and racing horses.

He bought the 4,500-acre temple Farm estate in 1985 and set about establishi­ng a wildlife haven with 500 acres dedicated to conservati­on, inspired by his country estate upbringing in Austria.

He launched the Marlboroug­h Cup racing event in 1995 and married his English wife, a keen horsewoman, in 1996.

in 2004, he became embroiled in a row with neighbours over £1million plans to build a row of 12

‘He had plenty of life left in him’

homes on land running along the border of the village cricket pitch in Winterbour­ne Bassett.

A couple later accused him of erecting a 6ft-high deer fence around their home as ‘punishment’ after they objected to his planning bid, which was rejected.

Countess susan was described by a journalist who interviewe­d her for Horse and Hound as an ‘elegant blonde in pastels and a big hat’ who ‘looks like a Hitchcock heroine, but in person she is fun, chatty and down to earth’.

in the 2020 interview, she said she hunted four days a week when she was in her thirties and became a master at 40.

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 ?? ?? Guilty: Konrad Goess-Saurau, above, was fined £2,000 for shooting dead Herman, left
Guilty: Konrad Goess-Saurau, above, was fined £2,000 for shooting dead Herman, left
 ?? ?? Divorce: Countess Susan had been given the dog by her mother seven years ago
Divorce: Countess Susan had been given the dog by her mother seven years ago

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