|Tartan Terror: Muir|
Robert Lyle Muir, 49, who lives in digs in Sandycombe Road, North Sheen was convicted of killing a wild bird, namely a female mallard, contrary to the Wildlife and Countryside Act.
A council CCTV operator was filming a group sitting by Richmond Riverside near Heron Square at 6.15pm on May 25, last year when Glaswegian Muir grabbed the bird and twisted her neck.
He was investigated by the Metropolitan Police’s Wildlife Crime Unit, but made no comment when questioned and tried to lie his way out of it during the trial by claiming the duck was injured.
Muir was sentenced to twelve weeks imprisonment, suspended for twelve months and must complete a twenty-day rehabilitation activity requirement aimed at tackling his drinking.
He must pay £300 costs and a £115 victim surcharge, which will be deducted at the rate of £5 a week from his Employment Support Allowance benefit payments.
“It was very unpleasant,” magistrate Ms Jane Spencer told him. “The offence took place in daylight with members of the public present and you did not hesitate in your actions and threw the duck to one side afterwards.
“It paints an unpleasant picture.”
Prosecutor Miss Mary Atere told Wimbledon Magistrates Court: “The circumstances being that this offence happens in Richmond Riverside and this defendant was intoxicated at the time.
“The entire incident is captured via CCTV.
“Richmond Riverside is frequented by numerous members of the public and this incident happened in broad daylight.
“The defendant is seen with a group of street drinkers on a grassy bank and one of the group is identified throwing bread at the birds to entice them over.
“At the point the ducks come over the defendant is seen leaning over and grabbing one of the ducks by the neck.
“He’s captured using both his hands to wring the neck of the duck and immediately discard it in front of him.
“From the CCTV footage some of the group appear distressed and get up.”
The duck, which was probably nesting eggs at that time of year, was finished off with a second wring of the neck and tossed into a plastic bag.
Her male mate, who had just flown across the Thames with her to gather food, was far more cautious and did not go near the group.
The court heard Muir has twenty-four previous convictions, mostly for drink-related offences of violence.
The original trial Prosecutor Mr. Janaka Siriwardena told the court: “It was a hideous, despicable unprovoked attack on a defenceless animal.
“He lured the duck near to him and then killed it for mere sport.
“It is likely that the ducks were mates for life and Mr. Muir killed this duck by luring it and without any justification whatsoever killed the duck by wringing its neck in a heinous manner.”
Detective Constable Sarah Bailey said: “The likelihood is that the female was nesting at that time,” explaining the ducks probably had a river nest laden with eggs.
|Mug Muir: Police Custody Shot|
“Muir grabbed the bird and appeared to twist her neck, then grab a second time, apparently to finish her off.
“I assume the duck was exhibiting signs of life and he wings the neck again and wipes his hands,” explained the officer.
The remains were tossed into a nearby bin and a female member of the drinking group was seen fleeing in disgust.
Muir denied 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.
However, he failed to remember his own lies in the witness box, claiming: “It looked like it had been hit by a propeller on the right side. The ribs were cut.
“It was cut to the bone, a clear cut on the left side.
“The girls I was sitting with were getting upset because of the injuries.
“I did the right thing in my eyes and I apologise if I got it wrong. I did it twice to make sure it wasn’t suffering.”
Today, his lawyer Mr. Steven Mould said: “Mr. Muir, even now, is adamant the duck was injured.
“He says the duck was injured and up in Lanarkshire he is familiar with hunting and fishing and has a liking for wildlife.
|Caught On CCTV: Muir|
“He says it gave him no pleasure and that it was not a callous act.
“He does have a drink problem and has been very honest with me about that and is currently seeking assistance in Twickenham.”
Police have been unable to confirm Muir’s claims he served in the British Army, something the defendant boasted of during the trial.
“He’s ex-military and served in Northern Ireland in the Eighties and suffers post-traumatic stress disorder, leading to the bottle,” said Mr. Mould.
“He has a flat and will lose that if he is sentenced to custody.
“He is not a lifetime criminal and not a danger to the public.”
Before the trial Muir told the prosecution team: “If I lose my house I hope you’re proud of yourselves, that’s a real possibility. This is a stitch-up.”
Today, he left saying: “Sorry it came to this. I’m trying hard.”