An elderly man drowned his lodger’s cat in the River Colne because he “hated” it.

Neil Lewis, 72, held the animal under water in a pet carrier, Colchester Magistrates’ Court heard yesterday.

He was given a suspended sentence and a life ban from owning animals.

The court heard Lewis’s lodger, Alexander Hammond, brought a kitten home last November after finding it at Colchester railway station and being unable to locate its owner.

Colette Harper, prosecuting, said: “As it got older, he noticed the defendant had some hatred for the cat.

“He told him he was fed up with it because it knocked his model aeroplane over.”

Lewis, of Flanders Field, Colchester, had suggested to Mr Hammond they should take the cat into a nearby meadow and set it loose.

On April 24, Lewis was seen byawitness with the cat in a pet carrier along the River Colne. Mrs Harper said: “He was then seen to place the pet carrier fully in the water.”

When police attended, Lewis said: “I didn’t like that cat. It was always a pain and scratched things. There’s another cat at home I like – that’s my cat.”

The cat was taken to a vets, but was dead on arrival.

Laura Austin, mitigating, told magistrates Lewis suffered from bipolar disorder.

She said: “There is a significant history of mental health problems relating to this defendant, which was exacerbated by a serious traffic accident he was involved in a year ago.

“He knows in hindsight what he did was wrong. He saw a short-term solution to the perceived problems he was facing at that time, not thinking of the consequences.

“The defendant is a somewhat educated person who, without these mental health difficulties, would have behaved entirely differently.”

Lewis admitted causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

He was given an 18-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, and made subject to a lifetime order banning him from having animals.

Lewis was also ordered to pay £165 in costs.