Page last updated at 17:19 GMT, Monday, 14 December 2009

Boy tells court killed deer was 'suffering'

Upton Country Park
The boys deny intentionally killing a deer

One of three youths accused of killing a young fawn in Dorset by stamping on it has told a court they wanted "to end its suffering".

The 17-year-old said they decided to kill the female baby deer because it appeared to have a broken leg.

He told Poole Youth Court he gave the fawn a karate chop to its head in Upton Country Park, on 10 June.

The boys, two aged 17 and one 16, all from Poole, deny intentionally killing a deer while on land without consent.

The boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, also deny an alternative charge of beating a wild mammal with intent to cause unnecessary suffering.

The judge has retired to consider his verdict and the hearing continues on Tuesday.

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.

'Stomped' on

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.

When the hearing began last week Paul Griffin, prosecuting, said that one boy swung it by one of its legs 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 had said "for a laugh" they should break its leg.

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

Mr Griffin said the boy admitted he and the other 17-year-old were laughing at the time.

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

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

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.

Police were alerted to the park by dog walker Keith Arthurs, 52, who witnessed the killing.

He was so distressed by what he saw he no longer goes to the park, the court heard.

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