3 Mar 2020

Guilty plea over brutal slaying of miniature horse

4:42 pm on 3 March 2020

By Rob Kidd of Otago Daily Times

Just weeks after the anniversary of the brutal stabbing to death of a miniature horse, a man has pleaded guilty to the attack.

Reginald Robert Ozanne at his Waitati home.

Reginald Robert Ozanne at his Waitati home. Photo: Otago Daily Times

Reginald Robert Ozanne, age 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 as the accused man by the community, having spoken to the Otago Daily Times before he was charged.

He 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 17 February last year, Ozanne entered a paddock by Pitt Street where Star was tethered for the night, some time after 9.30pm.

Armed with a "sharp implement", he 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.

Miniature horse Star was stabbed in Otago

Miniature horse Star was stabbed in Otago. Photo: Supplied

The horse was taken to Invermay for emergency treatment but succumbed to the extensive wounds on 19 February 2019.

In the ensuing months, police narrowed their focus on Ozanne and searched his home and car.

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.

Ozanne said that on the day of the killing, he 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.

However, he 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.