'Our lives are at a standstill' - Family of beloved dog which disappeared in Midhurst still searching for answers after court case delay

"We want an answer about where he is, it's like having a member of your family taken from you with zero answers as to where they are."

Friday, 19th March 2021, 5:53 pm
Updated Friday, 19th March 2021, 5:54 pm

A family, whose dog went missing whilst they were on holiday near Midhurst last year, have spoken about the 'immensely frustrating' delays in finding answers about what happened to their beloved pet.

Spillo, who is believed to have been stolen, hasn't been seen since last July, at a cottage in Ingrams Green Lane, three miles outside Midhurst.

With the help of a highly-trained pet detective, Laura Bierer-Nielsen and her family, from Wandsworth in London, have gathered evidence and brought a private prosecution against a suspect.

Laura (second, left) thanked the 'complete strangers' who have gone to extraordinary lengths to assist the search for Spillo

The first hearing was scheduled for February 26 at Brighton Magistrates' Court but this has since been adjourned until July.

Laura said the family were not given a reason for the last-minute delay, 'despite this case being about a live animal'.

"It's been immensely frustrating," she said. "We will be going back to court a year after Spillo was taken from us.

"The constant delay is holding up our lives. Our lives are at a standstill while we are waiting for this to come to a conclusion.

Described as the 'king of Wandsworth Common', Spillo was first seen by the Bierer-Nielsen as an eight-week-old puppy, 'dumped in an oil drum', in Italy

"We can't move forward unless we have some form of closure, whether that's getting him back or knowing where he is. That's all we want and all we've asked for, from day one."

A spokesperson for Sussex Magistrates Courts said that, due to lockdown restrictions and the 'reduction of footfall in our buildings', it has been 'necessary to adjourn some of our non-urgent business'.

"This includes the majority of our non CPS (Crown Prosecution Service] cases," they said.

"Cases remain under review and as we move out of lockdown we may be in a position to bring cases forward."

Henrik, his wife Sharon, and their daughter Laura, have been using thermal camera equipment, three sets of professional sniffer dogs, and have put up more than 300 posters and leaflets

Laura said they delays have been 'incredibly difficult to deal with' but wanted to thank the Midhurst community for its support.

She added: "It's almost been a year and we still get messages from people on a daily basis in the area. It's just so heartwarming.

"We get messages every single day of support and kindness from complete strangers. Some saying they have seen a dog that looks like Spillo and think they might have found him.

"Some of the people who helped with the search have become very firm friends.

"We are incredibly grateful for the kindness from people in Sussex. It's literally blown us away."