Jennifer Lampe pleads guilty to decapitating her pet snakes ‘with scissors and...

Jennifer Lampe pleads guilty to decapitating her pet snakes ‘with scissors and knife’

Photo from the BBC

Introduction and Facts

On 8th April 2016 Jennifer Lampe and her two pet snakes (a boa constrictor and a bull python) was living temporarily with her sister in Telford. It was not a comfortable arrangement as she had fallen out with her sister’s partner.

She feared that she was to be made homeless and would not be able to look after her two pets. After drinking seven cans of lager, along with several shots of whisky and amaretto, she got upset at the thought of being separated from them and “took scissors out of the kitchen drawer, and a knife, and retreated to her bedroom“, where she decapitated both snakes.

Her sister went into her room and saw the blood, before she left and called the police. They arrived and found Ms Lampe in her bedroom with her dead snakes.



Ms Lampe pleaded guilty to two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, and was released on bail until 18th August when she will be sentenced.

We have looked previously at the question of whether sentencing in animal cruelty cases are too short (as many people think).

In this case, we don’t know any of the personal circumstances of Ms Lampe, so it is premature to say what sentence should be passed. Clearly, on the face of it, there are some concerning circumstances, and it may be that there are mental health issues that we are unaware of.

We shall see next month.

Dan is a barrister at 2 Dr. Johnson’s Buildings practising in crime.


  1. Read all about it:

    Magistrates in Telford gave her a four-month suspended sentence and banned her from having animals for five years.

    Chairman of the bench Sue Terrell told her: “This is a rather unpleasant, not to say bizarre, incident.”

    Or in Mirror-headline-speak she was “spared jail”. In fairness to the tabloids, I expect she saw I that way. I have as a JP pronounced enough suspended sentences and watched the “customer’s” reaction to know that. You could banish them for life to the salt-mines of Siberia (and sometimes I wish I could) but as long as it was suspended they would regard it as a let-off and do whatever they had done all over again.