A 61-year-old woman was this week jailed for 20 weeks for animal neglect and banned from keeping animals for 10 years.

Wendy Elizabeth Megson was also ordered to pay £4,700 in compensation to parties who had since taken on the care of the animals.

Megson denied the offence but was found guilty by High Bailiff Jayne Hughes after a trial on May 16.

She was found guilty of neglecting 19 horses and ponies in her care over a three- to six-month period. They were suffering from malnutrition.

But Megson left the court part way through the trial.

A vet had described a degree of ‘stark emaciation’ in the animals and described them as ‘pitifully thin’ with lice and excessive worms.

Their grazing area was said to be covered in faeces, fences were broken, bedding was mouldy, and hay had been urinated on.

A Manx SPCA representative described conditions as ‘shocking’ and ‘appalling’ and said, of one animal, they had never seen a horse so thin and they did not know how he was still standing.

All the horses and ponies were said to have now recovered and in good health.

In court on Tuesday, Megson repeatedly asked Mrs Hughes if she was speaking to the ‘living woman Wendy’ and said: ‘The conviction is not sound. I was placed at a disadvantage without equal arms.’

Megson, whose address was listed as St Joseph’s Avenue, Douglas, asked for another adjournment saying she was going to instruct someone in the UK who was applying for a temporary advocate licence.

However, Mrs Hughes refused the adjournment telling Megson: ‘Normally I would not have hesitated to adjourn but every step of the way you have prevaricated to delay justice taking its course.

‘You have been assisted by just about every duty advocate in this jurisdiction.’

Megson claimed that she was feeling intimidated, and that a probation report was biased and said: ‘I don’t know what sentencing means.’

When asked to provide mitigation, Megson had handed in a bundle of documents which Mrs Hughes said did not appear to relate to mitigation.

The maximum sentence for the offence of causing unnecessary suffering to animals is six months custody but Mrs Hughes said that she considered this was ‘wholly inadequate’ and she was pleased new legislation will increase the maximum sentence to five years in custody.

Mrs Hughes told Megson: ‘You failed to attend a police interview or co-operate with the investigation.

‘You left court on the day of the trial. You have done everything in your power to obstruct and delay proceedings. You showed no remorse for the condition of the horses and ponies. It is inconceivable you could not have known of their condition and suffering.’

Megson was given one year to pay the £4,700 compensation.