A man has pleaded guilty to stabbing a miniature horse to death just weeks after the anniversary of the brutal slaying.
Reginald Robert Ozanne, 50, appeared in the Dunedin District Court today where he admitted a charge of wilfully ill-treating an animal.
His name suppression – which had been in place to protect his fair-trial rights – was lifted by Judge Michael Crosbie.
Despite the order to keep the man's identity under wraps over the last eight months, Ozanne has been widely known by the community after he spoke to the Otago Daily Times before he was charged.
The man said police had raided his home but he vehemently denied he was one who stabbed 11-year-old miniature horse Star 41 times.
There was a dramatic about-turn this afternoon, though.
On the night of February 17 last year, Ozanne entered a paddock by Pitt St where Star was tethered for the night, some time after 9.30pm.
He was armed with a "sharp implement" and inflicted 41 stab wounds to the animal, particularly around its back, neck and throat.
Some time during the prolonged attack, Star broke free from the tether and was later found by a dog walker who alerted authorities.
The horse was taken to Invermay for emergency treatment but succumbed to the extensive wounds on February 19, 2019.
In the ensuing months, police narrowed their focus on Ozanne and searched his home and car.
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A copy of the search warrant was provided to the ODT by the defendant.
It outlined that officers had sought knives, crossbows, arrows, slingshots, barbiturates, bloodied clothing, "all men's shoes'' and a BMX bicycle, as well as any documents related to satanic and pagan rituals.
On the day of the killing, Ozanne said he had finished off a bottle of whisky he had received for his birthday the day before, watched a movie and retired to bed.
He had no animosity for Star's owner Mandy Mayhem-Bullock, he claimed.
Ozanne, however, had sparked the anger of the small community when in 2018 he scaled the fence of the garden centre and stole items which he later gave to his partner for her birthday.
He was subsequently identified through CCTV and also pleaded guilty to stealing items from two unlocked cars in Waitati.
Ozanne was remanded in custody by Judge Crosbie and will be sentenced in May.