Youths who killed fawn 'for a laugh' fined £1,000

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The Independent Online

Campaigners today condemned a £1,000 fine and community punishment order given to two youths who stamped a fawn to death "for a laugh".

The two 17-year-olds caught the female baby deer as it waited for its mother in Upton Country Park, Dorset, on June 10 last year.

The pair, who can not be named for legal reasons, were "egging" each other on with one boy swinging it by its leg, another karate chopping its head before they "stomped" it to death, Paul Griffin, prosecuting, told Poole Youth Court earlier.

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

The youths were arrested, along with a 16 year old, on June 15 after a police appeal attracted international interest and officers were tipped-off with their names.

The pair, from Poole, were found guilty of killing the deer while a 16 year old was cleared of the charge.

District Judge Roger House today ordered the pair to pay £1,000 each at £20 a week to cover vet bills and prosecution costs.

He also handed down a Community Punishment and Rehabilitation Order meaning they will have to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and 12 months of rehabilitation.

Mr House said at the end of the trial that he would not send the pair to jail based on the facts of the case, their lack of previous criminal history and also because of "pressure to take every step" to avoid sending youths to prison.

But, he added: "I gave an indication last time that it would be a community punishment. In fact the penalty for this offence is such that there can not be imprisonment in the youth court."

About 25 campaigners turned up and chanted "Shame on you" as they boys left court.

Amongst them was Jill Adelus who slammed the sentence.

"It's a pathetic sentence and we don't accept it," she said.

"The judge isn't handing them the sentence they deserve.

"It's a green light to say it is okay to kill and torture animals."

Another campaigner, who did not want to be named, said: "It was a terrible thing to do to an animal.

"Children like that have to learn that they have done something wrong.

"That's why we are here to make sure the judge gave them a proper sentence.

"If they are not sentenced fairly they will go out and do it again."

One of the teenagers today lodged an appeal against his conviction which will be heard at a later date.