Skelmersdale, West Lancashire: Liam Aitken

#TheList Liam Aitken, born 06/05/1993, of Rose Crescent, Skelmersdale WN8 8DW – battered a hedgehog to death with a brick

Liam Aitken of Skelmersdale, Lancashire, UK, battered a hedgehog to death.

Father-of-one Aitken, then living in Wallasey, Merseyside, was spotted battering the defenceless creature by a horrified neighbour as he returned home from a late dog walk.

The outraged resident placed the dead animal in a plastic bag and wrote a note to Aitken, leaving both on his car.

Another neighbour reported dad-of-one Aitken to the RSPCA.

Aitken admitted one charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a hedgehog by crushing the animal to death, and was unable to explain his actions when quizzed by investigators.

Chris Murphy, prosecuting for the RSPCA, told the court: “The witness was in bed and woke up to the sound of thuds.

“She saw a male dressed in black. She noticed he was using a mobile phone as a flashlight to look at a mass on the ground.

“She observed the male pick up a brick and throw it on to the mass five or six times then walk towards the bins. He walked off to his house via the back gate.”

When the beaten hedgehog was found, it was still warm, but not moving.

A post mortem found the hedgehog died from blunt force trauma and had injuries including a fractured pelvis and broken legs.

When interviewed, Aitken said he thought he had thrown the brick three or four times and accepted he had caused serious injuries to the hedgehog.

Mr Murphy said: “He said he was truly sorry for his actions and had no idea why he had done it.”

Aitken wept as his lawyer told the court he had never previously harmed an animal and was remorseful.

“At the time he wasn’t in a very good place and was drinking a lot. He was extremely depressed at the time and the week before had taken an overdose. He had been arguing with his partner.

“He said he was distraught. Had he walked a different way the hedgehog would still be alive today.”

Sentencing: 12-month prison term, suspended for a year; 200 hours of unpaid work. Ordered to pay £835 in costs and attend a six-month alcohol treatment programme.

Liverpool Echo

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