Beds, Herts & Bucks

Suspended jail term for chef who killed swan

Mohammed Miah
Image caption Mohammed Miah admitted killing a swan on a river bank

A chef who admitted killing a swan on a river embankment in Bedford has been given a suspended jail sentence.

Mohammed Miah, 29, of Kathie Road in Bedford, pleaded guilty to killing a wild bird at Bedford Magistrates' Court.

Prosecutors said he killed the swan, which is protected by law, in the early hours of 10 May on an embankment near The Swan Hotel.

He was sentenced to a 12-week jail sentence, suspended for 12 months.

Prosecutor Toby Earnscliffe said Miah was seen to grab a swan by its neck and twist it. He walked away, leaving the bird flapping its wings, returning when it had died.

'Tremendous pain'

A porter at the nearby Park Inn saw him pick up the bird and place it in a black bag and walk off along the river, the court heard.

The police were called and officers found Miah on the embankment without the bag.

"He was very intoxicated, there was blood on his ear, his forehead, jacket and jeans, bird droppings on his shoes and a white feather in his hair," said the prosecutor.

He claimed he had been fighting in a bar. The dead swan was found in the bin bag when the police searched the area, the court heard.

RSPB inspector Mark Thomas said: "In 15 years I have never seen anything like this before. The swan must have suffered a tremendous amount of pain.

"Mr Miah has been very fortunate to escape going straight to jail. Four people have gone to prison for killing swans in the past 10 years."

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