Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

John Stafford guilty of 'brutal' seagull killing in Buckhaven

John Stafford
Image caption John Stafford was at his home in Buckhaven when he attacked the herring gull

A man has been found guilty of killing a seagull by stoning and kicking it to death.

John Stafford, 32, was at his home in Buckhaven, Fife, when he attacked the herring gull, kicking it and hitting it on the head with a rock, a court heard.

The attack on 11 July 2011 was spotted by neighbours, who saw the gull in Stafford's garden.

Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court heard either Stafford or his friend had taken the bird into the garden before the attack.

Sheriff James Williamson deferred sentence for background reports.

After a two-day trial Stafford was found guilty of, while acting with another, intentionally or recklessly killing the herring gull by repeatedly stoning, kicking, and striking it with a stick.

The other person involved has since died.

Hitting forcefully

Prosecuting, Mina Poppius said that Stafford's neighbours, Christine White, 56, and her daughter Lisa White, 32, saw what happened.

The depute fiscal said: "The witnesses in this case speak about the young sea gull being ushered into the garden by Stafford and being kicked, and at this point the gull was still moving and flapping its wings.

"Both witnesses have given evidence that Stafford appears to be hitting the gull forcefully with a rock.

"There is obviously another person who strikes the bird with things including what appeared to be a fence post."

"The two people were clearly in each other's company."

She added: "It is clear from the evidence that prior to being attacked the bird appears to be alive, and after the attack it appears to be dead."

The court heard the bird died from blows to the head.

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