Airline confirms Northamptonshire pilot who drowned neighbour’s dog to stop it barking has “left company” after investigation

Stephen Woodhouse drowned his neighbour's dog in a moment of madness to stop its barking.
Stephen Woodhouse drowned his neighbour's dog in a moment of madness to stop its barking.

A pilot who admitted drowning his neighbour’s pet dog to stop it barking has left his airline “with immediate effect”, it has been confirmed.

Stephen Woodhouse, 53, of Old Watline Street, Long Buckby, had been suspended by Flybe Group PLC after he was sentenced pending a full investigation.

In a statement released on its Facebook page this evening, a spokesman said: “We can confirm that with immediate effect Captain Steven Woodhouse is no longer employed by Flybe Group PLC.”

The decision was welcomed by campaigners who had supported the owners of the dog.

Woodhouse used a water butt in his garden to kill border terrier Meg on Saturday, July 26 last year. The pet belonged to his next door neighbours the Boddingtons, who had bought Meg for their seriously ill daughter Lauren in 2007. Tragically, Lauren passed away in 2008.

In May, Corby Magistrates’ Court heard how Woodhouse claimed he had become fed up of the “yap, yap, yapping” of the terrier and drowned the pet because he “just had to stop the noise”.

He was given a 12-week suspended prison sentence and was ordered to pay costs of £2,400 and a victim surcharge of £180.

At the time, chief operating officer at Flybe, Luke Farajallah, said the company was ‘appalled’ by the actions of its employee.

He said: “Flybe is genuinely appalled at the nature of this situation and we would like to express our sincerest empathy to the family over the distressing loss of this special dog.

“We are taking this matter extremely seriously and can confirm that Captain Woodhouse is currently suspended pending a full investigation.”

The court heard on Wednesday how 53-year-old Woodhouse had suffered a heart attack in 2013 and had moved to Long Buckby for ‘recuperation’.

Shortly after he killed Meg, the court also heard how the pilot had driven around with the body in the boot of his car, intending to dispose of it.

He even carried out an overnight flight to the Isle of Man with the body still in the car before returning home.

However the court also heard how The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), following an assessment of Woodhouse, had deemed him fit to be able to return to his job as a pilot.

A CAA spokesman said, in December: “In the event a licensed pilot is convicted of an offence, which is relevant to their ability or duties, we may conduct our own enquiry and ask for further details or evidence.

“In addition, further medical and health assessments may also be required.

“Where the health or character of an individual does not meet aviation safety standards, we may suspend or revoke a pilot’s licence or medical certificate.”