A street drinker caught on CCTV killing a female duck he tempted with bread on the bank of the Thames has appeared in court.
A council operator filmed a group sitting by Richmond Riverside near Heron Square and captured the moment the wild bird was killed with a twist of her neck.
Robert Lyle Muir, 49, who lives in digs in Sandycombe Road, North Sheen appeared at Wimbledon Magistrates Court and will fight the charge.
He was investigated by the Metropolitan Police’s Wildlife Crime Unit and will return to court for trial on January 30.
Muir pleaded not guilty to killing a wild bird, namely a female mallard, contrary to the Wildlife and Countryside Act.
He was with a group of drinkers being monitored by council-operated CCTV when the female duck and her male mate flew across the river towards them.
Muir grabbed the bird and appeared to twist her neck, then grab a second time, apparently to finish her off.
The remains were tossed into a nearby bin and a female member of the drinking group was seen fleeing in disgust.
The seemingly healthy duck was probably collecting food for her young at that time of year.
Muir is denying the charge based on the only possible defence available to him, namely that the bird was injured and suffering and he was carrying-out a mercy killing.