Mum who was spared a jail term for puppy fraud back in court after boasting about ‘freedom’ on Facebook

Share this

A puppy farmer who was spared jail because she has children was hauled back into court after a judge saw pictures of her boasting about her ‘freedom’ on Facebook.

Zoe Rushmer, 26, was described as the ‘legitimate face’ of a gang that made £300,000 by selling sick or dying dogs claiming they had come from a loving family home. Rushmer admitted conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation but the judge suspended her two-year prison sentence for the sake of her two young children.

But after Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, judge Andrew Shaw was alerted to two posts on her Facebook account. In one, she wrote ‘freedom’ on a brightly coloured background, and in another she posted a photo of herself smoking a cigarette while wearing a balaclava that she had worn to court. She captioned the photo ‘wing it’ and posted a fist bump emoji.

Rushmer, of no fixed address, sobbed as she was brought back to court on Friday. After hearing that the balaclava photo was posted before sentencing, the judge accused her of crying crocodile tears and said it ‘indicates someone who’s hoping to get away with it’.

He said: ‘I’m not going to further your sentence but you need to understand that I came very close to doing so.’ Ian James, representing Rushmer, said said she wore the balaclava as she ‘did not wish her face to be recognised’ and didn’t want to be ‘disrespectful’. But the judge said if Rushmer wished to obscure her face on arrival at court ‘the time-honoured way of doing that is to put a coat or a newspaper over one’s head.’

Norwich Crown Court was told Rushmer was the ‘legitimate face’ of the puppy farm run by her brother Michael Rushmer and partner Jacob Murphy. The men, both 27, were each jailed for 42 months and all three have been banned from keeping animals for life. Some of the ‘sickly and diseased’ puppies that were sold died within days or cost their owners thousands of pounds in vet bills.

The RSPCA said the 74 dogs that were found at the property in Thurlton, Norfolk. Some of them had been kept in cages, dark sheds and a caravan where temperatures reached 30°C. The judge repeated on Friday that the reason he spared Rushmer prison was due to her children, adding: ‘This is a court of law…the decision I made was correct.’


Share this

Kennedy Mornah is an Award Winning Ghanaian Journalist with over two decades of experience in the Ghanaian Media landscape spanning the electronic, print and digital media. He is a Media Consultant, a Corporate MC, Radio and TV Host, Founder and Publisher of the Maritime and Transport Digest Newspaper, Businessman, a Go getter and an optimist. He has worked for renowned media organizations including Diamond Fm in Tamale, Luv Fm in Kumasi, Oman Fm in Accra and Starr Fm in Accra In 2017 he received the Reporter of the Year Award at the Ghana Shippers Awards in Accra, Ghana.

Leave a Reply


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.