West Ham defender Kurt Zouma pleads guilty to kicking and slapping cat after ‘upsetting’ video

The West Ham star was accused of three offences under the Animal Welfare Act

Thomas Kingsley
Tuesday 24 May 2022 11:45
West Ham’s Kurt Zouma kicks and slaps cat in horrific footage

West Ham defender Kurt Zouma, 27, has pleaded guilty at Thames Magistrates' Court to kicking and slapping a cat.

The West Ham defender was faced with three offences under the Animal Welfare Act after a video emerged in February which appeared to show him kicking and slapping his cat.

Zouma’s brother Yoan, who plays for Dagenham and Redbridge, has also been accused of two offences.

The maximum sentence for animal cruelty cases in the UK is five years after being raised from six months in 2021.

Zouma, 27, was forced to apologise after harrowing footage was filmed and shared by his younger brother Yoan, 24, who admitted one offence during the hearing.

Kurt Zouma at Thames Magistrates Court appearing over allegations he kicked a cat and slapped another in the head in, London,

Hammers defender Zouma arrived at court in chaotic fashion, accompanied by several security guards who emerged from a vehicle holding umbrellas to form a protective shield around the defendant.

The court was told about disturbing footage of the incident, filmed at Zouma's home and posted on Snapchat by his brother on 6 February. It was later seen by a woman who had been messaging Yoan, who raised the alarm.

Zouma could be seen volleying the Bengal cat across his kitchen, before throwing a pair of shoes at it and slapping its head.

Prosecutor Hazel Stevens told the court Kurt Zouma could be heard saying: "I swear I'll kill it, I swear I'll kill it."

Kurt Zouma kicking a cat in a widely ciruclated video

Ms Stevens said the 40-second clip appeared to be carried out after the cats were deemed responsible for damaging a chair in the home. She said: “Kurt Zouma is determined to chastise or carry out some sort of retribution for the damage caused.”

She said the young woman who first saw the footage was so appalled that she cancelled a date with Yoan, saying: “I don't think hitting a cat like that is OK - don't bother coming today.”

Ms Stevens added: “Since this footage was put in public domain there has been a spate of people hitting cats and posting it on various social media sites.

“Their behaviour falls short of what is expected of a high-profile image.”

Yoan Zouma at Thames Magistrates Court to appear over allegations filming a cat being kicked by his brother Kurt Zouma

Zouma - who is an ambassador for a French animal charity - issued an apology in February and said in a statement: “I want to apologise for my actions. There are no excuses for my behaviour, which I sincerely regret.

“I also want to say how deeply sorry I am to anyone who was upset by the video.”

Kurt Zouma offered an apology for his actions to the court

The court heard the Premier League defender has since agreed for his two Bengal male cats to be rehomed. He admitted two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal on 6 February.

Yoan admitted one count of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring his older brother to commit an offence.

Yoan Zouma has been accused of two counts of “aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring” Kurt to commit the offence of causing unnecessary suffering to the cat.

Kurt Zouma was reportedly fined two weeks’ wages by West Ham following the incident in February, worth around £250,000, but he continued to play for the club.

Defending the West Ham player, Trevor Burke QC said his client had been fined £250,000 by his club and lost a "substantial" sponsorship deal with Adidas. He had also not been picked for the French national team, he added.

Mr Burke said: “A Google search will always reveal the guilty plea and the video.”

District Judge Susan Holdham adjourned proceedings until the sentencing hearing on 1 June.

More to follow...

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