Depraved teenagers who attacked sheep with sticks, pelted them with bricks and ripped off their horns left a country park looking ‘like a murder scene’.
Portsmouth Youth Court heard a laughing gang set about the sheep in Alver Valley Country Park in Gosport with one 14-year-old boy inflicting an ‘uppercut with a piece of wood’ before riding the unfortunate animal.
When police were called to the ‘grotesque crime’ on May 1 the four youths - three boys and a girl - were far from remorseful. Two of the boys had also attacked sheep, ripping off a horn, two days prior to being caught.
Prosecutor Lucy Linington said: ‘On May 1 there’s a witness who calls police describing a group of youths seen to throw bricks at a group of sheep and seen also pulling at sheep’s horns. The injuries sustained to some of the sheep were such that their horns were entirely removed.’
One sheep was said to have lost an eye but a vet’s report did not confirm this, she added.
Giving details on the teens’ arrests, she added: ‘Their behaviour described by police officers was considered to be jovial.
‘They were laughing and not in any way aware as to the level of inflicted damage and depravity perhaps one could see was the case.’
But she added the sheep were ‘panting, distressed, clearly in extreme pain’ with a horn broken off, and an eye injury to another sheep.
Ms Linington said one gang member had reportedly said ‘this is fun’ but added: ‘Yeah, but they don’t die do they.’
The court heard one police officer said ‘the level of blood was tantamount to a murder scene’.
Shuffling in the dock a 15-year-old girl - who professed to be an ‘animal lover’ and wept when quizzed by police - two 14-year-old boys and a 13-year-old boy were blasted by a judge for their cruelty.
A lawyer for the girl had tried to claim she just picked up the sticks but a stern district judge Anthony Callaway said that ‘makes her responsible for the catastrophic injuries in this grotesque crime’.
Sentencing all four, the judge said: ‘This is quite a grotesque act. Most decent people would be reviled by what you’ve done.
‘To treat helpless animals in that way and to arm yourselves to do it, not on one occasion but on another occasion, is disgusting.
‘Were you to be adults you’d go straight to prison and deserve to go to prison.
‘What sort of people you are I can only speculate about. I think you’re disgusting.
‘I’d like to send you all to prison but the law says I can’t do that.’
The court heard an emergency vet cost £236 to assess the animals, and countryside officer Fred Gibson said it cost the authorities £6,000 to improve the fencing around the sheep.
The judge imposed a 12-month referral order on the 15-year-old girl and 14-year-old boy, both from Gosport. They admitted one charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.
A 13-year-old boy received a nine-month extension to a current three-month referral order, and a 14-year-old boy from the Southampton area received a 12-month youth rehabilitation order. They both admitted two charges.
All must each pay £59 compensation to cover an emergency vet bill, and £85 costs.