A 32-year-old man has been jailed for 18 months for an incident of what was described as unspeakable cruelty, in which seven horses and a dog were shot dead.

Cork Circuit Criminal Court was told that Tom O'Connor, of Clonfert, Newmarket, Co Cork shot the animals because of a grudge he held against his uncle.

Denis McCarthy, O'Connor's uncle, contacted gardaí on 9 September 2017 and told them his dog had been shot.

He also said shots had been discharged into his car and his jeep, which were parked outside his house, and he subsequently found that one of his horses had been shot dead at the rear of his home.

He said he confronted the man who had carried out the shooting and he recognised him as his wife's nephew, Tom O'Connor, but that he ran off.

Six horses belonging to Mr McCarthy's son, Denis Gerard, were also shot on his property.

Detective Sergeant Hugh Twomey told the court that O'Connor was arrested after gardaí mounted a search operation in the area.

A shotgun was found in his crashed car and O'Connor was found in a nearby house.

Today, Tom O'Connor pleaded guilty to charges of discharging a shotgun.

His counsel, Alice Fawsitt, said the accused man was diagnosed with Mixed Affective Disorder, a mental condition.

She said nothing like this every happened before and members of his family were in court to support him.

Judge Sean Ó Donnabháin said there was no explanation for the shootings.

He said it was a deliberate act of destruction without mercy or justification.