A disgraced horse trader who owned a farm where more than 30 animals were found dead has been let off £200,000-worth of fines due to bankruptcy.

James Gray, the former owner of Spindles Farm in Hyde Heath, was ordered to pay more than £1million in fines and court costs and has served jail time since he was convicted of multiple animal welfare offences more than a decade ago.

The 58-year-old attempted to appeal the convictions at London’s High Court in 2013, but although two of his 11 original convictions were overturned, he was ultimately unsuccessful and had another £200,000 added to his legal bill.

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At Wycombe Magistrates’ Court on August 6 this year, more than ten years after his original conviction, Gray, of Narcot Road in Chalfont St Giles, had £223,453-worth of fines written off.

Documents attached to the court listing state that the amount was remitted due to Gray being bankrupt, having served prison time, and the RSPCA refusing the money.

An RSPCA search of Spindles Farm in 2008 found more than 100 animals with welfare concerns and more than 30 ponies, horses and donkeys were found dead on the property.

The case attracted national notoriety at the time after experienced RSPCA officers described it as the worst case of animal cruelty they had ever seen.

The offender’s situation was made even worse when he fled from Aylesbury Crown Court on the day of his sentencing. He was arrested in Worcester a few days later.

A few years later in 2014, Gray was hauled back before the courts and was jailed for four-and-a-half years after he fleeced pensioners out of thousands of pounds for cowboy building works.

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In an attempt to raise funds to pay off his fines and court costs, Gray conned an 88-year-old former British Library academic out of £20,000 for work which experts valued at just £150.

He drained £18,000 out of another 80-year-old victim’s account, leaving him with just £300 after repeatedly demanding money from him. This victim died just months after the money was found to be missing.

Gray, who had done this work under the fake name ‘Joseph De Paula’, admitted two counts of fraud by false representation before he was sentenced at Swindon Crown Court.

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