George Mutch sentenced to four months in prison

Scottish gamekeeper George Mutch, convicted in December for trapping a goshawk and then battering it to death (and a few other things – see here) on the Kildrummy Estate in Aberdeenshire, has been sentenced to four months in prison for his crimes.

He was led away from the court in handcuffs and is currently en-route to a prison cell.

What an unbelievably brilliant outcome – we never thought we’d see the day. Mutch is the first gamekeeper ever to be jailed in the UK for killing raptors.

Huge congratulations to the RSPB Investigations Team, SSPCA, Police Scotland and the Crown Office, and kudos (and thanks) to Sheriff Noel McPartlin for handing out this sentence. An acknowledgement also to former Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse, who pushed hard for the admissibility of video evidence. Had he not done so, this case would probably not have made it to court.

For anyone who missed it when he was convicted in December, here is the video nasty showing gamekeeper Mutch carrying out his crimes on the Kildrummy Estate in Aberdeenshire.

We understand there’s the potential for a vicarious liability prosecution in this case. We’ll have to wait and see whether COPFS deems there’s enough evidence to proceed. Although that may prove difficult – have a read of Andy Wightman’s blog about who owns Kildrummy Estate, here.


Media coverage:

A bizarre statement from the SGA here. Isn’t it great to see the representative organisation strongly condemning his crimes, er…

BBC news here, including statements from the Sheriff, RSPB Scotland, COPFS, SGA and SLE.

RSPB Scotland statement here

Press & Journal here

Herald here. This is an interesting one, with quotes from defence agent David McKie about Mutch’s employment status and the status of his firearms certificates.

Telegraph here, with claims that Mutch had been sent a ‘threatening letter’ following his conviction in December. The police are investigating.

Daily Mail here, with a classic quote from Superintendent George MacDonald (Police Scotland) suggesting it’s just a “small minority” of gamekeepers who are at it. What he meant, of course, is that it’s just a small minority that are actually caught.

Courier here, which is pretty much a carbon copy of the Mail’s piece.


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