A MAN brutally beat to death his disabled wife's 11 week old kitten, a court heard.

Carrone Wilson, of Oakenfield, Burgess Hill had been keeping pets for years when she married Norman in 2013.

Vets noticed three of the Wilson's cats appeared to have been poisoned with anti-freeze and a further seven animals suffered traumatic head injuries and also died.

When vets were called to treat kitten Tiny Tim, which the couple claimed had fallen off a bed, they realised the animal had been brutally mistreated and were reported to the RSPCA.

Tiny Tim had to be put down and veterinary pathologists found he had injuries more severe than having fallen from a third floor window, including displaced bones in the skull and bleeding on the brain - all consistent with having suffered blunt force trauma.

Harry Macdonald defending Mrs Carrone, 49, told Brighton Magistrates' Court yesterday: "She was a woman caring for cats for many years.

"He comes along and was quite frankly killing them.

"She accepts is was unrealistic to hope he would change."

Mr MacDonald said disabled Mrs Wilson, who is in a wheelchair, suffers from spina bifida and other medical problems, was entirely dependant on her husband.

But she admitted she "should have been more proactive in challenging her husband about his care of the cats".

David Buck prosecuting for the RSPCA said: "Mrs Wilson said she did not know how the kitten had received its injuries but that Norman did often get in a temper with the cats.

"The animal had been crying and he had repeatedly told it to shut up.

"She said she believed her husband had inflicted the injuries."

The court was told the couple had separated following the death of Tiny Tim.

As a result magistrates yesterday looked leniently on Mrs Wilson, who admitted failing to protect the kitten from unnecessary suffering, and agreed she could be allowed to keep her last remaining cat and she was served a conditional discharge.

Mr Wilson, 52, has also admitted failing to protect Tiny Tim from unnecessary suffering and injury.

Magistrates have warned him he faces jail when he is sentenced on July 29.