The owner of a miniature horse stabbed 41 times says she will sit down with the killer and "look him in the eye and say 'what were you thinking?' ''.
Reginald Robert Ozanne, 50, pleaded guilty to a charge of wilfully ill-treating an animal when he appeared at the Dunedin District Court yesterday.
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 in April last year before he was charged.
The man confirmed police had raided his Waitati home but he vehemently denied he was the one who stabbed 11-year-old miniature horse Star 41 times.
Yesterday there was a dramatic change in that stance.
Star's owner, Mandy Mayhem-Bullock said the guilty plea was "a huge relief" and welcomed a restorative-justice meeting with Ozanne.
"We really want an opportunity . . . to just look him in the eye and say 'what were you
thinking?'," she said.
She was not confident of a definitive explanation, however.
"Apart from the big horses who were witnesses I don't think anyone in the world will know
what happened, except for him."
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Mayhem-Bullock said the months waiting for police to arrest Ozanne was hugely
traumatic, especially with him living "a stone's throw" from her.
The defendant showed the ODT the search warrant police had executed at his home, which 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.
Mayhem-Bullock said it had yielded results – she had been told Star's blood had been
found on Ozanne's shoes.
According to court documents, on the night of February 17 last year, the defendant entered a paddock by Pitt St where Star was tethered for the night, some time after 9.30pm.
He was armed with a "sharp object" and inflicted 41 stab wounds to the animal, particularly around its back, neck and throat.
During the attack, Star's tether was cut and he was found in the early hours of the following morning 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.
On the day of the killing, Ozanne told the ODT, 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 Mayhem-Bullock, he claimed.
Ozanne, however, had developed a dubious reputation in the small town 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 cars in Waitati.
Defence counsel Deborah Henderson asked for suppression of Ozanne's name to continue
since the findings of a psychological report may provide grounds for a permanent order.
But Judge Crosbie said there was significant public interest in the community knowing the
Ozanne was remanded in custody and will be sentenced in May.