Two boys sentenced for killing more than 20 animals at environmental college

Animals including rabbits, snakes and birds were killed by the youths at an environmental college

Alexander Butler
Thursday 18 April 2024 14:58 BST
More than 20 animals were killed during the break-in at Capel Manor College (pictured)
More than 20 animals were killed during the break-in at Capel Manor College (pictured) (PA Media)

Two schoolboys who killed more than 20 animals including rabbits, snakes and birds at an environmental college have been handed a community order.

The children, aged 11 and 12, were told to pay back their parents after pleading guilty to animal cruelty charges which caused £10,000 worth of damage at Capel Manor College, west London, in February.

After admitting to causing unneccessary suffering to the animals, they were both ordered to pay £200 in compensation, for which their parents are liable.

The boys also stole various animals from the college including ferrets, guinea pigs, and three snakes and were found by police playing with one reptile in a changing room.

Both boys also pleaded guilty to a charge of causing criminal damage at Gunnersbury Park’s Putt in the Park mini golf course.

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In the 30-minute hearing, Ms Green gave both boys a community sentence and told them they had only avoided time in prison because of their age and the fact they were not persistent offenders.

In her sentencing remarks, she said: “It’s horrific what you’ve done, absolutely horrific.”

She added: “It is well you are not adults because you would have faced a significant time in custody.”

Of their financial penalties, she told them: “This is your crime, this is your punishment, not your parents. You must do something to pay them back… whatever they ask you to do.”

Prosecutor Vijay Khuttan said CCTV footage of the incident, not shown in Uxbridge Magistrates’ Youth Court, displayed “extreme animal cruelty”.

A barn own Shiraz went missing as a result but was later found in a warehouse near Heathrow Airport
A barn own Shiraz went missing as a result but was later found in a warehouse near Heathrow Airport (Capel Manor College/PA Wire)

“They entered the areas they should not be in and can be seen throwing animals around, slamming them on the floor, stamping on them and that ultimately leads to the death of over 20 of those animals and approximately £40,000 of damage to the cages,” he said.

Mr Khuttan said the boys were “of good character”, but that the offences represented a “significant jump into criminality”

A barn owl called Shiraz escaped, but has since been recovered at a warehouse near Heathrow Airport and is being cared for at the college’s Enfield campus.

Describing itself as “London’s environmental college”, the institution offers a space for young people and adults to take care of animals in their farms and zoos as well as participate in gardening and landscaping activities.

In the aftermath of the incident, Principal Peter Brammall said: “This has been a terrible episode and my thanks go out to the dedicated team of staff who worked tirelessly over Sunday and Monday to deal with and restore the devastation left by the intruders.”

Dafne Moran Toha, defending the 11-year-old boy, said his behaviour was caused by his “lack of maturity” and “very young age”.

Fitzroy Lee, defending the 12-year-old boy, said his client was in “exactly the same situation” and had spent a “lengthy amount of time in the police station” because of the arrest.

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