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Badger killer avoids prison term

4 October 2007 - BBC News

Mark Paddock was also ordered to pay 2,600 in costs A father-of-five has been sentenced to 90 days in prison, suspended for two years, for illegally killing a badger by lamplight. Mark Paddock, 37, of Aintree Close, Leegomery, Telford, will also have to observe a night-time curfew and do 200 hours of unpaid community work. He was found guilty on Wednesday of illegally hunting and killing a badger at night - with his two lurchers.

Speaking after the trial Paddock said his case fell on "deaf ears". He claimed he had been out "rabbiting" on December 14, 2005, when his dogs went for the badger and he had killed it for humane reasons.

But the district judge at Telford Magistrates' Court, Nicolas Cartwright said that the evidence, brought by the RSPCA, was "overwhelming". Mr Cartwright said that Paddock had exposed his two dogs to injuries, caused extreme suffering to the badger and had deliberately made his 13-year-old daughter an accomplice to the crime. Paddock had tailored his evidence to suit his own purpose and had shown no remorse, he added.

After his arrest in March 2006, Paddock's former home in Donnington was searched and two lock knives were found. One of the knives had badger blood on it. Mobile phone footage of the attack was also used in court.

Paddock said: "My case was basically heard on deaf ears... and they had no proof even when they raided my house."

Sentencing him, Judge Cartwright said he would have jailed him had it not been for the recent death of the mother of three of his children. He was also ordered to pay 2,600 in court costs after the judge decided he could not afford the full cost of 26,000. The remainder will be paid by the RSPCA.

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