Beds, Herts & Bucks

Hertfordshire taxidermist trial over exotic animals collapses

The case against a taxidermist from Hertfordshire accused of keeping a collection of dead endangered animals has collapsed.

Among his alleged collection Simon Wilson, 50, was said to have had a stuffed tiger and an orang-utan.

The prosecution at Croydon Crown Court told Judge Nicholas Ainley they would offer no evidence.

The judge said: "The case is over and I will enter verdicts of not guilty." Mr Wilson nodded in agreement.

Mr Wilson was first arrested three and a half years ago and accused of profiting from owning a tiger skin and falsely using a certificate from a different stuffed tiger.

He was also originally charged with illegally owning a Himalayan black bear, an orang-utan and a mandrill skeleton, a leopard skull, a peregrine falcon and a red kite.

The professional taxidermist, of Canterbury Way, Croxley Green, denied the charges and nodded as the judge said the case was finished.

CPS and police blamed

His barrister, Tom Godfrey, told the court his client had been "persecuted" since his arrest, and his personal and professional lives had been affected.

"He and his wife and his daughter have suffered immeasurably as a result of these proceedings.

"I know he would like me to express that in open court.

"Mr Wilson has felt he has been persecuted as a result of the allegations."

The lawyer blamed the collapse of the trial on the Crown Prosecution Service and the police.

Charges of conspiracy against Mr Wilson had been dropped before the case went to crown court.

Kerry Broome, prosecuting, said: "The Crown's view is that there is not a realistic prosecution in this case."

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