Page last updated at 19:26 GMT, Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Teenagers guilty of deer stamping death


Wildlife campaigners hope the case will send the message that the inappropriate treatment of animals will "not be tolerated"

Two 17-year-old boys have been found guilty of killing a young deer in a Dorset park by stamping on it.

Three boys, two aged 17 and one 16, were accused of intentionally killing the deer while on land without consent after the attack on 10 June.

The 17-year-olds were cleared of beating a wild mammal with intent to inflict unnecessary suffering. They will be sentenced in January.

The 16-year-old was cleared of both charges at Poole Youth Court.

During their trial, one of the 17-year-olds told the court he gave the fawn a karate chop to its head in Upton Country Park.

But the court was told the trio only decided to kill the deer because it appeared to have a broken leg.

'Stomped' on

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.

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

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

Prosecutors said that one boy swung the deer by one of its legs and another karate chopped its head before all three "stomped" it to death.

The court was told one of the 17-year-olds had said they should break one of the deer's legs "for a laugh".

Paul Griffin, prosecuting, told the court: "The deer was moving, it was trying to escape. Then they all decided to kill it."

He said one of the 17-year-olds had "accepted he had stomped on the fawn's ribs because he thought it would be fun".

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

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

District Judge Roger House told the two 17-year-olds that though this was a nasty case, it's not in the same league as people who cause deliberate suffering to animals.

He told the youths they wouldn't be facing imprisonment, but a community sentence.

They will be sentenced on 14 January 2010.

Rejecting calls from the media to name the youths, he said he had to weigh up what was in the public interest and what was good for them.

It was said that one of the youths had had the graffiti "red rum", murder spelt backwards, written outside his home.

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Killed deer 'was found suffering'
14 Dec 09 |  Dorset
Boys 'stamped on deer for laughs'
10 Dec 09 |  Dorset
Three teenagers deny fawn killing
24 Sep 09 |  Dorset
Youths charged over fawn killing
07 Sep 09 |  Dorset

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Kings Lynn News Teenagers guilty of killing baby deer - 2 hrs ago
Bournemouth Daily Echo Guilty of killing a fawn - but Poole teenagers won't face custody - 2 hrs ago Teenagers guilty of killing fawn - PA - 10 hrs ago
Falmouth Packet Teenagers guilty of killing fawn - 14 hrs ago

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