Fan 'threw punch' at Crystal Palace bald eagle

Kayla in flight Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Crystal Palace's mascot Kayla flies around the stadium at every home game

A football fan intentionally threw a punch at Crystal Palace's bald eagle mascot during a fractious derby game, a court has heard.

Daniel Boylett, 35, of Eltham, south-east London, was arrested after trouble at a Palace home game against Charlton Athletic on 23 September.

Boylett was part of an "aggressive" group of fans that targeted the 25-year-old bird Kayla, the court heard.

He denies attempted criminal damage worth an estimated £20,000.

Crystal Palace, nicknamed the eagles, adopted Kayla as a mascot in 2010. She flies around the stadium at every home game.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Crystal Palace, known as the Eagles, adopted Kayla as a mascot in 2010

Kayla's handler Chris Belsey had been walking her around the pitch on his forearm when a punch was thrown from the crowd, the jury heard.

Prosecutor Daniel Higgins said there "is no dispute" Boylett threw the punch, but questions may surround whether he intended worse to happen.

Kayla's delicate bone structure meant "if she had been hit with force, her bones could easily break" Mr Higgins added.

The game, which Crystal Palace won 4-1, had seen violent scenes before a ball had even been kicked.

Boylett appeared in the dock alongside Colin Kitto, 49, of Eltham, Andy McConville, 48, of Rochester, Kent, Billy Cowcher, 32, of Greenwich, south east London and Sam Donegan, 25, of Welling, Bexley, in south London.

Messrs Kitto, McConville, Boylett and Cowcher were "all present at the front of this aggressive and disorderly group which was led by Kitto", according to Mr Higgins.

Mr Boylett, Mr Kitto and Mr McConville each deny two counts of violent disorder. Mr Cowcher and Mr Donegan deny one charge each of violent disorder.

The case continues.

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