Gold Coast man jailed after killing flatmate’s Maltese cross service dog in ‘senseless and violent act’

A drug addict has been jailed for killing his flatmate’s four-year-old Maltese cross service dog Oliver in a “senseless, violent and frankly frightening act”.

Liam Brandon Maxwell killed the animal by throwing him across a living room with such force that he slammed into the roof or wall in the Surfers Paradise home on 8 February last year.

The 24-year-old was sentenced in the Brisbane district court on Tuesday after earlier pleading guilty to one count of serious animal cruelty.

“This was a senseless, violent and frankly frightening act,” judge Rowan Jackson said.

Police found blood splattered on the roof, walls, floor and curtains, and pooled around Oliver who was dead on the floor.

“He would have experienced extreme emotional distress and fear as he was being traumatised,” Jackson said.

Oliver’s death had a “profound effect” on owner Chantelle Astin who got him to help with her anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, the court heard.

“She describes having lost time, motivation, peace, happiness and hope,” the judge said.

The court was told Maxwell was an addict who “responds very badly” when using drugs, had difficulty managing anger and had very serious mental health issues. He first used cannabis but ice had become his drug of choice.

At the time he killed Oliver, Maxwell had been on probation for six months after being convicted for assaulting a person over 60 in 2017. He had punched the victim including after the man fell to the ground.

Since killing Oliver, Maxwell had moved to Brisbane to remove himself from the Gold Coast drug culture, his barrister, James McNab, told the court. He and his family have received death threats online since the incident, the court heard.

The judge said Maxwell seemed to need a “significant amount of supervision”.

He sentenced him to two years and six months behind bars but ordered he be released on parole after serving three months.

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