South West Wales

Withybush Woods swan killings: Man and teen admit offences

Swans at Withybush Woods
Image caption The swans lived on the pond inside Withybush Woods

A 24-year-old man and a 13-year-old boy have admitted killing swans in Pembrokeshire.

Three swans were shot dead at Withybush Woods in Haverfordwest last October and another was seriously injured.

Benjamin Phillips, 24, and the teenager were given non-custodial sentences after admitting possession of a loaded air rifle in public and intentionally killing and injuring a wild bird.

Gareth Mattson, 32, denied the offences before Haverfordwest Magistrates.

He will stand trial on 19 April and was released on conditional bail.

A third man, 19-year-old Joseph Lawson, failed to appear in court and a warrant was issued.

'Disgusted'

Phillips was given a four-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months and 150 hours of community work and the 13-year-old boy received a 12-month referral order.

Defending Phillips, David Williams told the court his client felt "genuine remorse" for what happened.

The court heard Phillips said he "immediately felt disgusted at what had happened".

Mr Williams told the court the incident had a serious effect on Phillips' mental health and "swan killer" had been scratched on his family's car.

The presiding magistrate Martin Jones said: "The community still feel very strongly about this case and that's something you're going to have to live with".

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