Two boys plead guilty to animal cruelty after animals killed at Gunnersbury college

Image above: Capel Manor College

Boys aged 11 and 12  killed more than 20 animals

Two boys aged 11 and 12 have pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to animals and criminal damage after more than 20 animals were found dead in Capel Manor College in Gunnersbury Park. The attack happened on Sunday 25 February. Rabbits, snakes and birds were discovered dead after reports of a break-in.

The court was told the boys ‘threw animals around, slammed them on the floor and stamped on them’ after breaking into the environmental college.

The boys appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Youth Court on Thursday (14 March) and also admitted causing criminal damage which amounted to £40,000. Both the cages where the animals were kept and the nearby Putt in the Park golf course were damaged.

A barn owl called Shiraz escaped and was later recovered at a warehouse near Heathrow Airport.

Principal Peter Brammall previously told The Chiswick Calendar he had thanked staff “who worked tirelessly over Sunday and Monday to deal with and restore the devastation left by the intruders.

“Our campus is now back open, student lessons are back on track and the team is working with our partners to bring in new animals over the next few weeks to replace those that were sadly lost,” he said.

Image above: Capel Manor College, Gunnersbury Park

Prosecution told court incidents showed “extreme animal cruelty”

Prosecutor Vijay Khuttan said CCTV footage, which was not shown in court, displayed “extreme animal cruelty”, and although the boys were “of good character” the offences represented a “significant jump into criminality.”

He also disputed the basis of the boys’ guilty pleas, saying:

“They are absolving themselves of practically any responsibility for the injuries and deaths of the animals.”

Mr Khuttan told the court:

“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.”

Dafne Moran Toha who was defending the 11-year-old boy, said the boys “did not have any intention to hurt” the animals and that her client was “very remorseful,” she also said his action were “completely out of character.”

She also said his behaviour was due to his “lack of maturity” and “very young age”.

Lead magistrate Dr Prabhjot Kaur Basra told the boys:

“We’ve heard early guilty pleas, however, the basis of your guilty pleas are disputed and not agreed by the prosecution.”

However, Dr Basra added the boys had “pleaded guilty on the first possible occasion,” therefore there was no need for a hearing to discuss the basis of the pleas.

The boys were released on bail and are expected to be sentenced at the same court on 4 April.