Builder filmed suffocating baby deer to death as onlookers laughed is spared jail

Clips shows Elwyn Ingram straddling the fawn and covering its mouth his hands

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A builder who was filmed on a mobile phone suffocating a baby deer with his bare hands has been spared jail.

Elwyn Ingram, 45, was shown straddling the young roe deer and covering its mouth with his hands until it died in the 30-second clip, as witnesses could be heard laughing in the background.

The father-of-five – who said he thought he was putting the deer out of its misery after it had been hit by a car – posed for a photo with the animal after it died and answered “no comment” when interviewed by police.

Cheltenham magistrates told Ingram they did not believe his version of events and that the evidence showed he was “celebrating” the killing.

But they declined to send Ingram to prison, instead handing him a 14-week suspended sentence, as well as a tagged 12-week curfew from 7pm to 7am, 180 hours' unpaid work and £165 fine and costs.

The court had been shown the picture of Ingram holding up the dead fawn by its legs, and another showing the lifeless beast lying on the ground next to two dead rabbits.

Jo Wallis, for the prosecution, said that they did not accept that the deer was injured. Ingram’s lawyer told the court that his client had been a “patsy” who had been tricked into thinking the deer was injured and ended up killing it “for everyone else’s enjoyment”.

Ingram, of The Willows caravan park, Sandhurst Lane, Gloucester, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to a single charge of causing unnecessary suffering to the Roe deer on 11 August last year.

Additional reporting by Press Association