#TheList Chad Paul John Worgan, born November 1995, of Moxhull Gardens, Willenhall WV12 5XX, Jake Higgs, born February 1992, of Walnut Close, Bilston WV14 8QJ and Thomas James Knox, born July 1995, previously of Dudley Fields, Bloxwich, and more recently (September 2020) of White Road, Quinton, Birmingham B32 2AE -squeezed, kicked and battered dozens of rare birds to death
The trio of Chad Worgan, Tom Knox and Jake Higgs, together with a 16-year-old youth from Erdington who wasn’t named for legal reasons, stole the birds from an aviary in Brownhills, Walsall, belonging to Mr Lee Williams, and bundled them into sacks and containers. The thugs then took them to Dolphin House in Goscote, Walsall.
Once inside the building, the birds were emptied onto the landing. From there, the abuse got underway although police believe a lot were already dead at that stage. CCTV revealed the horror as the rare birds were tortured to death.
One of the yobs can be seen smirking and then appearing to aim a kick at an innocent bird as others are scattered across the floor.
Other footage shows birds being chased by a dog, jammed into drawers and squeezed to death. Some were posted through letterboxes and dropped through people’s windows.
Worgan admitted an offence of receiving stolen goods and causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal on the basis that he kicked a pigeon.
It was said there was a ‘sick grin across his face’ as he appeared to be enjoying what he was doing, appearing to grab one of the perched birds and visibly squeeze it.
A dog was let into the flat and terrorised the birds. The animal belonged to Knox.
Knox was criticised for spending most of the trial giggling with his co-accused in the dock. He denied causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and receiving stolen goods, along with the 16-year-old.
Higgs admitted receiving stolen goods but denied causing unnecessary suffering. Magistrates found all four guilty of the charges after the trial.
Knox was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, receiving stolen goods, common assault and using threatening words or behaviour.
The latter charges related to his behaviour towards a dog warden and housing staff when he was told his dog was going to be taken away.
Vaughn Whistance, defending, said Knox was a vulnerable young man who suffered with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism.
Co-accused Jake Higgs was also due to learn his fate but failed to show up and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Chairman of the bench, Mr Bob Thomas, said the youths’ actions amounted to ‘joint enterprise’. He added CCTV showed all of them playing some part in the birds’ suffering.
Rare bird breeder Mr Williams had built up his collection of rare jays, finches, doves, budgerigars, quails and pigeons over a number of years.
Maggie Meakin, prosecuting, said it would cost £1,500 to replace the birds, and added: ‘He cannot afford to replace the birds and he cannot claim on the insurance.’
Sentence: Worgan and Knox were jailed for six months and ordered to pay compensation. The 16-year-old minor was given an 18-month rehabilitation order. No details are available on Jake Higgs’ sentencing.