SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- A Sydney financier who tortured to death 17 rabbits and a guinea pig was imprisoned Monday for at least 12 months.
Brendan Francis McMahon, 37, lost a bid to mount a psychiatric defense in a Sydney magistrates court against 18 counts of animal cruelty. He was sentenced to a maximum penalty of 16 months in prison but will be eligible for parole after serving 12 months.
The charges arose from attacks in July and August last year. The dead or severely injured animals were found in or around McMahon's central Sydney first floor office from where he ran a financial planning company and mortgage brokerage.
Many of the victims had been skinned, their skulls shattered, eyes ruptured and had wounds to their genitals, the court heard. Most of the carcasses were found in a lane outside the office, though some apparently were temporarily stored inside the office, where they were killed.
Magistrate Ian Barnett rejected New Zealand-born McMahon's claim that a long-standing addiction to cannabis and an eight-month habit of using methamphetamine, also known as ice, was a defense for his crimes.
"This is a matter where in my view there is community outrage," Barnett told the court.
"Someone should not be allowed to commit such offenses of aggravated cruelty upon animals and then say: 'Well, I was using ice at the time, I have been taking cannabis most of my life and I'm sorry,"' he added.
McMahon remained silent as he was sentenced.
With time already served since his arrest, McMahon, who said he sponsors eight children in Guatemala, will be eligible for parole in May next year.
McMahon bought the animals from inner-city pet stores. Police were alerted by a pet store sales assistant who became suspicious about rabbit scratch marks on McMahon's face.