Devon

'Neknominate' goldfish swallow pair avoid prison

Goldfish Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption Daniel Challis, who was filmed eating a goldfish, said 'it was a stupid thing to do'

A man who swallowed a live goldfish in a drinking dare has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Daniel Challis, 24, swallowed the pet fish when taking part in the Neknominate drinking game where people film themselves downing alcohol.

Challis and friend Cheryl Stevens, who videoed the incident, were jailed for 18 weeks, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work.

He said: "I didn't think eating a fish could cause this much trouble."

Challis, from Westhill Road, Torquay, was dared to eat the fish despite not being "overly keen", Plymouth Magistrates' Court heard.

The video of him putting the wriggling goldfish in his mouth was posted on Facebook.

He denied causing unnecessary suffering to the fish, as did Stevens, of Brecon Close, Paignton, who admitted she videoed and posted the footage.

RSPCA prosecutor Kevin Withey called it a "bravado exercise".

He said the goldfish was alive when Challis put it in his mouth although both defendants maintained it was dead.

'Dead and slimy'

Vet David Martin said the fish was moving in the pint glass and it would have suffered.

Challis, who claimed the fish could not have been wriggling because it was dead, said it was his hand shaking as he held it up.

Stevens, 27, said: "It was dead - he was shaking, he was nervous."

Challis said: "It was dead. I flinched because it was slimy and not pleasant. I had a drink and my hand wasn't steady at the time."

Magistrates convicted both, saying the video evidence showed the fish was alive.

They were each also ordered to pay £1,200 in costs and have been banned from keeping fish for five years.

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