Page last updated at 14:28 GMT, Thursday, 10 December 2009

Boys 'stamped on deer for laughs'

Upton Country Park
A man walking his dog in Upton Country Park says he saw the incident

Three youths killed a young fawn in Dorset by stamping on it "for a laugh", a court has heard.

Two 17-year-olds and a 16-year-old caught the female baby deer as it waited for its mother in Upton Country Park, on 10 June.

Poole Youth Court heard the teenagers were "egging" each other on.

The teenagers, from Poole, who cannot be named for legal reasons, all deny intentionally killing a deer while on land without consent.

They also deny an alternative charge of beating a wild mammal with intent to cause unnecessary suffering.

A post-mortem examination showed the fawn, which was four to six weeks old, suffered several skull fractures, a severed spine and a fractured right leg.

He accepted he had stomped on the fawn's ribs because he thought it would be fun
Prosecutor Paul Griffin

The teenagers were arrested on 15 June after a police appeal attracted international interest and officers were tipped-off with their names, the court heard.

Prosecuting, Paul Griffin said that one boy swung it by its leg and another karate chopped its head before all three "stomped" it to death.

Reading extracts from their police interviews, he said: "(one of the 17-year-olds) said 'For a laugh break its leg'.

"The deer was moving, it was trying to escape. Then they all decided to kill it.

"He admitted that he and (the other 17-year-old) were laughing because 'we thought we were having fun'.

"He accepted he had stomped on the fawn's ribs because he thought it would be fun."

The teenager told police: "I got carried away and was stupid. I thought it would be a laugh."

'Karate chopped'

The court heard that the youngest defendant told police he only nudged the fawn once with his foot and did not laugh like the others.

One of the older boys told police the fawn was already injured and they were putting it out of its misery, the court was told.

Dog walker Keith Arthurs, 52, was so distressed by what he saw he no longer goes to the park.

He told the court: "When I first saw the three youths in the field, I decided then this didn't seem right, that's when I decided to phone 999.

"While I was on the phone to the services one of them karate chopped the young fawn across its nose.

"It was still in the other youth's hands. His hands were stretched in front of him. Quite clearly he had an expression on his face of an enjoyment-type expression."

The trial continues.

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Three teenagers deny fawn killing
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