Front Page







World News in Audio

On Air


Talking Point


Low Graphics


Site Map

Wednesday, March 11, 1998 Published at 19:44 GMT


Rhino horn traders jailed
image: [ Some of the rhino horns in Wilfred Bull's collection ]
Some of the rhino horns in Wilfred Bull's collection

Two men involved in a multi-million pound deal to sell rhino horn on the black market have been jailed.

Wilfred Bull, 63, who is already serving a life sentence for murdering his wife, was jailed for 15 months. This will be run at the same time as his current jail term.

Judge Peter Langan, QC, at King's Lynn Crown Court, also ordered that Bull's collection of more than 120 rhino horns be confiscated and ordered him to pay £700 prosecution costs.

The RSPCA said the collection, one of the largest in the world, was worth £2.8m and represented 1% of the current rhino population.

David Eley, from Great Shelford in Cambridgeshire, was jailed for nine months after the judge told him that his part in the plot had been so serious that it could only be dealt with by a custodial sentence.

Defendant 'buried head in sand'

Judge Langan said Eley, 53 was being jailed because of the quantity of rhino horns involved and because he was convinced that he had "deliberately buried his head in the sand" about whether the trade was illegal.

Carol Scotchford-Hughes, 50, from Willingham in Cambridgeshire, was sentenced to 120 hours community service.

Sentence on a fourth defendant Elaine Arscott, 40, also of Great Shelford, was deferred for two weeks.

Legitimate collector

All four pleaded guilty at earlier hearings to conspiring to sell rhino horn between January and September 1996 contrary to the Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Act 1985.

The case was the first ever involving rhino horn and was of "strict liability" meaning the defendants were guilty whether they had known they were breaking the law or not.

The court was told Bull, originally from Coggeshall, Essex, murdered his wife in 1985 but had collected the horns legitimately before that time.

He instigated the sale from his prison cell bringing in his long-standing girlfriend Carol Scotchford-Hughes who in turn recruited her former boss, businessman David Eley and his live-in girlfriend Elaine Arscott.

The court heard that Arscott, using a false name, rang the London Stock Exchange to speak to an expert on "animal trophies" - and he tipped off the RSPCA.

Police raid

Detectives from the South East Regional Crime Squad were called in to pose as potential buyers.

Scotchford-Hughes, Eley and Arscott were arrested after officers swooped on a West London storehouse when Scotchford-Hughes arrived to prove to her "buyers" the horns were genuine.

Rhino horn powder is sought after in the Far East as a medicine and aphrodisiac but trade was banned in 1985 to protect the endangered species from poachers.

Defence lawyers for all four defendants told the court they had not known the trade was illegal.

Last month a fifth man, Paul Rexstrew, 45, of Wimbledon, south London, was acquitted of the same charge on the second day of a trial after the judge ruled there was no case to answer.

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage


Link to BBC Homepage

  Relevant Stories

11 Mar 98 | UK
Police raid stuffed animal kingdom

10 Mar 98 | Despatches
Emu eggshells improve sex drive

06 Mar 98 | UK
Cash to protect endangered species

27 Jan 98 | Special Report
Tiger killings must stop says WWF

  Internet Links

Worldwide Fund for Nature

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.
In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online

UK Contents

Northern Ireland