12
Jan
15

George Mutch sentenced to four months in prison

George MutchScottish 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.

COPFS statement here

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80 Responses to “George Mutch sentenced to four months in prison”


  1. 1 Tim Dixon
    January 12, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    Well that’s really brightened up a dreary afternoon. Another crack in the dam!

  2. January 12, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    think i’m going to have a lay down to recover from the shock. of an actual custodial sentence being handed out to a gamekeeper. it must be a first

  3. 3 Peter Shearer
    January 12, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    Hopefully the tide continues to turn in favour of the conservationists! Well done all!

  4. 4 Kevin moore
    January 12, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    Fantastic news , it has certainly made my day , thanks for keeping us informed .

  5. 5 crypticmirror
    January 12, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    I suspect there may very well be some quivering sphincters on the grouse moors today. For a change not from the grouse or the raptors too.

    A great step forward, but there is still a long way to go. We need to get the detection rate up significantly, and that means a lot of reform still.

  6. 6 Richard Towers
    January 12, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Granted, the guy needed prosecuting, but do you honestly think prison is the answer? The prisons are already overcrowded, he will struggle to find any meaningful employment and his family will suffer in the long run. He deserves punishing, his family does not!

    Who wins from this in the long run? =Nobody! Community service, banning from keeping animals etc would have been enough of a sentence along with a hefty fine.

    • January 12, 2015 at 4:35 pm

      Yes, we honestly think prison is the answer.

      Cheers!

      • 8 Tony Phillips
        January 12, 2015 at 6:13 pm

        Richard, would you apply your views to anyone who breaks the law? Or are you especially fond of gamekeepers?
        Who wins from this? Hopefully the wildlife of Scotland. He broke a law which carries a custodial sentence. Deal with it as he has to.

        • 9 Tony Warburton MBE
          January 12, 2015 at 11:25 pm

          I couldn’t agree more with RPS. Of course this sentence is appropriate – and hopefully will be the first of many. The fact is, Mutch never thought for a moment he would be sentenced to prison because it has never happened before. And if he had thought about the price his family would have to suffer he should have kept to the law. This is a great outcome which should send a message to other bird of prey haters. We shall see. By the way, Richard, what is your job?

        • 10 Richard Towers
          January 13, 2015 at 1:14 am

          Yes, I am fond of gamekeepers and country sports. I am equally fond of wildlife and their habitats. I actively seek to enhance native species as and where I can. Anyone that will fully harms protected species should be dealt with as prescribed by the law.

          With the costs and ramifications involved, prison is NOT the answer. Why should the families suffer for the crimes of one person? Who benefits from a custodial sentence? -Nobody.

          I firmly believe that only violent criminals, drug dealers and persistent offenders should be given custodial sentences.

          • 11 Marco McGinty
            January 13, 2015 at 2:10 am

            Then why should the families of the violent criminals, drug dealers and persistent offenders suffer as a result of their actions? Why should the families of these criminals not be afforded the same leniency as the criminal gamekeeper, or the criminal landowner?

            What about the reckless driver that kills pedestrians, or other road users?

            What about the burglar that robs a family of all its possessions?

            What about the fraudster that robs an elderly man or woman of their life savings?

            What about the employer, on whose negligence results in the death of an employee or member of the public?

            There are many other offences, none of which would fall into your categories. Surely you cannot be suggesting that these people, if caught and prosecuted, should not receive a jail sentence?

            However, as Mutch was found guilty on four separate counts, it could easily be argued that he is a repeat offender, so by your own reckoning, he should indeed be in jail.

            Well done to all involved in this landmark case, and here’s hoping that it is the first of many custodial sentences handed down to the serial criminals operating in our countryside. And although there is still much work to be done, well done to the Scottish Government for leading the way in the fight against wildlife persecution.

          • 12 Heidi
            January 13, 2015 at 2:11 am

            Perhaps he should have been sent on holiday instead eh Richard – what a ridiculous notion – prison is where scum like him belong – he is a disgrace to game keeping and the shooting fraternity

          • 13 Pandion
            January 13, 2015 at 8:36 am

            He beat a bird with a stick. That’s pretty violent.

            But also, how else do the courts send the message that these laws should be obeyed? The evidence is that they are frequently – if you were as fond of wildlife and seeking to enhance species, you would be gravely concerned by the fact that Hen harriers are virtually extinct through persecution in England and teetering badly in Scotland. Many of us doing bird work in Scotland, are not terribly optimistic what the next harrier survey will show. Evidence from satellite tagging shows the eagles are being killed at a much higher rate than anyone realised; their population is being supported because the birds are so long lived and because there are some regions which are producing a surplus.

            Fines haven’t been cutting it. When gamekeepers are being told (implicitly these days) to kill birds or lose their jobs, facing the threat of a fine is nothing. But actually facing imprisonment? That might be a little more inducement to stop these crimes.

            And of course they are also trying to put pressure on through warning of loss of general licences, loss of firearms, loss of rural payments as well. Yet still the birds are killed. How would you suggest that we get the landowners to stop the killing as someone interested in protecting wildlife?

      • January 13, 2015 at 2:39 pm

        So do I; preferably for the employer as well as the hired hand.

    • 15 Andrew
      January 12, 2015 at 4:59 pm

      In the long run? Hopefully we have a strong deterrent and ipso facto less of them will feel confident in breaking the law.

    • January 12, 2015 at 5:02 pm

      Yes, a spell in prison, then a stint of community service, a hefty fine and a ban on going anywhere near any animal. He got off lightly.

      • 17 Alex Milne
        January 12, 2015 at 5:15 pm

        It is to be hoped that he will keep his job. The estate seems to have been supporting him up to this point, and I don’t doubt that he has been doing the will of his employer. If they do allow him to keep working, they should be congratulated for standing by him, if not for anything else. The vicarious liability legislation makes it clear that the direction must come from the employer. As an employee all gamekeepers in Scotland now realise at last that they are really facing a prison sentence if they carry as in the past and will want to know how they stand. Employers are on notice that if they do not issue something like a written instruction to obey the law as regards gamekeeping duties, that they could well follow the gamekeeper into jail.
        Heady times.

        • 18 crypticmirror
          January 12, 2015 at 7:19 pm

          Well it is in the estate’s interest to keep him employed, since it sends the message that they won’t hang gamekeepers out to dry and thus give them incentive to continue ignoring the law. Therefore I hope he gets the sack from his job and the boot from his tied cottage. The estate would do half the conservation sector and procurator’s work for them just by hanging even one keeper out to dry. The old feudal way of “just do what we say and we’ll see you right, even if you are caught” is a huge part of why wildlife criminals continue to flout the law.

    • 19 Julie Wright
      January 12, 2015 at 5:24 pm

      Why should he have got off lightly? He broke the law, would you have said the same if he had bludgeoned a dog or child to death? I don’t think so, if he got in his car drunk and put other people’s life at risk, would you let that go? He has killed protected birds, protected by law, which is punishable. They are protected for a reason and why should he be let off? Actions have consequences and I could kiss the judge for making a stand against all those that flout the law because they think it doesn’t apply to them. We see you 👀

    • 20 BSA
      January 12, 2015 at 5:31 pm

      Prison’s are certainly already overcrowded. They are overcrowded with people who did not benefit from the double standards which have always protected landowners and their servants. Sentencing reform is a genuine issue in the UK, but special pleading for the game lobby and their ‘traditions’ is not part of that discussion. The reaction of the SGA and SLE will be interesting. Will they squeal about being ‘criminalised’ or will they grow up and become responsible members of society ? Probably the former. Possibly more important than the game lobby’s reaction will be the public reaction. Custodial sentences may change perceptions of environmental crime and people will see it for what it is free of the whole ‘rural worthy’ image portrayed by the likes of BBC Scotland. Prison and criminalisation is exactly what’s needed.

    • 21 kevin moore
      January 12, 2015 at 6:38 pm

      of course prison is the answer, gamekeepers have been getting away with it for years, he broke the law ,if his family suffers because of it then he only has himself to blame.

    • 22 crypticmirror
      January 12, 2015 at 6:49 pm

      Yup. We’ve tried those, they neither deter nor rehab raptor poisoners. They are treated as jokes, with community service, manual labour, not being so different from their day job, bans on keeping personal animals meaning nothing when they are often left in charge of others quite legally, and fines paid for out of estate kitty jars. And if he didn’t want his family punished then he ought not to have broken a law that potentially carried a custodial sentence for breaking.

      Wildlife criminals have been given enough chances, and patience has expired. That Mutch and his ilk have never given a thought to how his family would suffer if he broke this law shows just how little care they have given to it. They’ve taken the potential punishments as being slap on wrists that are easily moved on from. Well not anymore! Now there are real consequences.

  7. 23 Dougie
    January 12, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Nice one Sheriff – thank you.

  8. 24 Chris Roberts
    January 12, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    Could hardly believe my eyes when I read your heading. Congratulations to everyone for this successful prosecution, and well done Sheriff Noel McPartlin for giving a jail sentence. Hopefully, times are certainly-a-changing.

  9. 25 Een Historicus
    January 12, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    Congratulations!

  10. 26 Martin Parr
    January 12, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    Marvellous!! At last, a strong message to the rest of them!!

  11. 27 Carrie
    January 12, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    That’s a brilliant result!

  12. 28 Liz davies
    January 12, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    Brilliant outcome yes prison sentence needed, he should have thought about his job and his family before committing the crime …

  13. January 12, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Huge breakthrough and a fantastic start, but is four months enough?

  14. 30 Mo Richards
    January 12, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Historic! – its been a long time coming.

  15. 31 Logan Steele
    January 12, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    Will we now see the owner being charged for VL?

  16. January 12, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    Reblogged this on Mark Goodwin Photography and commented:
    This maybe a first for a Gamekeeper being jailed for killing wildlife. If so, let’s hope it’s not the last.

  17. January 12, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    Decoded the SGA’s statement amounts to “Mr Mutch has been found guilty so, by our rules, we’re forced to thrown him out. This isn’t because we disapprove of what he did, as we don’t. The rule was only there for PR reasons so the real problem was not what he did, but that he got caught. We want is for our members to be allowed to do the same thing without worrying about the consequences”

    • 34 crypticmirror
      January 12, 2015 at 7:24 pm

      Yeah. A real tone of “We said we’d do this if you caught us at it, how dare you catch us!”. Privilege and disdain for the laws of the land. We should start trying harder and see how many of them we can catch at it. They’ve relied on the relative emptiness of the moors and distance from major popular centrers to insulate them for far too long. Time for the modern world, where we can spot poachers in Kenya from laptops in Kelvingrove, to finally put an end to these Victorian-era fossils.

      • 35 bimbling
        January 12, 2015 at 8:29 pm

        Can it be correct that the SGA statement was posted on their website at 8:15 this morning? They may as well have said “Nothing new from the SGA; jog-on”

        • 36 Circus maxima
          January 12, 2015 at 11:57 pm

          The SGA’s message is “we represent professional gamekeepers, and professional gamekeepers don’t get caught. This man did not meet our standards so reluctantly we have been told by our bosses to fling him oot”

    • 37 Dave Dick
      January 13, 2015 at 1:51 pm

      Close to the truth John..but what they are really after now is to get licences so they can get away with these killings legally. Basically they are saying to the rest of us that raptors dont matter compared to their sport/industry.Despite the rest of society saying that wildlife takes precedence over its killing for fun and profit. They will cynically use this case to try and force the issue. That must not be allowed to happen. ..and to all those who may [understandably] be doubtful about the effectiveness of prison as a deterrent we have the clear precedent of egg thieves – rare bird egg thefts nosedived after the first eggers were jailed. Fines/confiscations ddidnt work with them either.

  18. 38 George M
    January 12, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    A personal tragedy for Mr. Mutch, but a political necessity if the nod and a wink culture is to be ended and our birds of prey given serious protection. Someone always has to be the first bit of jetsam when the tide turns but if it hadn’t been for the silent support given to characters like George Mutch by those who ill not dirty their own hands, then the man might not have found himself in the position he is in today.

    • 39 crypticmirror
      January 12, 2015 at 7:26 pm

      A personal tragedy for Mr. Mutch, but one of his own authorship as he ignored the law and thought that he would never get caught and if he did would face no consequences of any weight. Fix’d for you.

      • 40 George M
        January 12, 2015 at 9:06 pm

        Most folk know, and factor in, the pressures these men are under. They may lose their job, their house and be left without a reference if an owner spots a raptor on their territory. Many of them are raised in a rural culture where old values take generations to die. Personally I have no time at all for gamekeepers and have run foul of them on many an occasion … indeed, I have entered into both legal and public disputes with them ….. BUT … the real power which could stop the illegal persecution of raptors almost overnight lies not with them, but with those who employ them. The monkey dances … but the organ grinder picks the tune.

        • 41 crypticmirror
          January 13, 2015 at 1:08 pm

          Prejudices take generations to die whether they are rural or not, but die they must. And those who don’t let their prejudice suffer the result. As Mutch has done. He risked losing his job and his home? Well, he could always have looked for a new job and new place to rent. Everyone else has to. If My boss asked me to fiddle the books for him or face the sack, the only thing I’d say is “so you’ll not be asking me to work my notice then?”. It is a shitty position for bosses to put their employees under, I’ll agree, but if the choice is do something that risks jail or find a new place to live and new job then I’m hitting the job pages.

          You think it is unfair that they risk being made homeless, well maybe you should contact your MSP ( https://www.writetothem.com/ ) and ask them to get cracking on tenancy reforms too. Have them break the ties on accommodation. Have any employer who offers housing make it separate from the employment. have them pursue the reform which says that as long as the tenant obeys the conditions of the lease they cannot be evicted. That would help. Of course a lot of tenancies have occupancy requirements, but then that means eviction due to gaol time applies to more than just keepies.

          Finally, no the power to stop illegal persecution does not rest with the Estate Owners. It rests with the people they employ, because it doesn’t matter what orders are given if no one is prepared obey them. Power always rests with the people. Its just some don’t want us to remember that, George.

          • 42 George M
            January 13, 2015 at 7:41 pm

            I can acknowledge the wide gap between theoretical absolute morality and how imperfect it’s status is when applied to the real world. I try to take that into account when issuing a judgement in situations like these. If all one had to do is to think morally and ignore the pressures that real life bestows on us what a wonderful world it would be.
            I live rurally in the general area where Mr. Mutch was raised and am aware of the various pressures local men face when seeking a job in the country. Now, whether I like it or not, that it how it is, and a lot of the vacancies in this line of work are filled by informal social networking …. so adhering to the group psyche of this particular group of people is a necessity if one is to enter that field. It is not a psyche that I agree with but my not agreeing with it neither invalidates it or makes it disappear.
            On your final point I am afraid we must agree to disagree. I disagree with your position simply because it is cast in black and white in a world characterised by various shades of grey. Once more, moral absolutism is fine in the world of authors and philosophers but I have never found it in the real world, other than in a verbal form. The power Mr. Mutch had at his disposal was tiny compared with that of his employers and the consequences of not adhering to the “nod and wink” style of instructions he might have been given was great, whereas any consequences to his employer if he gave the indication that any law breaking in relation to raptor crime would be minimal … as is ALWAYS the case.
            Power rarely rests with the people, Cryptic, even when they come together in huge numbers. As an example consider the millions who objected to the Iraq War, and the outcomes of that show of power. I am afraid that power generally rests with those who hold authority over those beneath them on the hierarchial ladder, as is shown on a daily basis.
            In case any confusion exists I fully support the custodial sentence given to Mr. Mutch and have never indicated otherwise. Indeed, it is my position that ANY person found guilty of illegally killing a bird of prey should suffer a similar fate. My intention was to illustrate that, in a game of chess, all that has occurred is that one side has lost a pawn while the King sits in safety and considers his next move. This is why I said it was a “personal tragedy but a political necessity” that Mr. Mutch lost his freedom.
            P.S. I pick my own topics to campaign on. :)

  19. 43 John Taylor
    January 12, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    An excellent result and I hope Mr. Mutch receives a rough ride from the other worthies that he encounters inside. There’s always the danger, though, that he will be able to “educate” impressionable prisoners about the unlawfull practices available to gamekeepers, and how they may evade detection. That’s a risk we have to take, he’s now in the right place as far as I am concerned.

  20. 45 Pip
    January 12, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    F**k him………………..Pip

  21. January 12, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    The SGA statement is mince. Sad that they keep regurgitating this sort of mixed message on behalf of their members, there seems to be no way forward when they still advocate legalising the destruction of raptors to enable a few more game birds to be shot. The negative side to this case is that keepers will now know to search for hidden cameras before clubbing Goshawks etc to death.

  22. 47 Stewart Love
    January 12, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    Mr Mutch has done the crime now he does the time. He should have thought about this before killing Raprtors, if he gets flung out his tied cottage and his family suffer then there is nobody to blame other than himself. Time now for an Estate owner to do some time, that would send an message to where it really matters the Keepers bosses. The owner or the kildrummy estate should be in an adjoining cell. Well done to all concerned in getting this result. Slainte.

    • 48 Tony Warburton MBE
      January 12, 2015 at 11:35 pm

      Dead right Stewart. Well said. Now that WOULD be a sign that the tide has turned. But at least we have the first wave!!!

  23. 49 Gav
    January 12, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    Poor man just trying to do his job now hes in a prison cell. He was just protecting his game from the vermin that is birds of prey.

    • 50 Julie Wright
      January 12, 2015 at 11:51 pm

      Birds of prey are Vermin?
      Well from your statement You’ve just proved what every Game Keeper has drummed into them, all that bull about “we don’t kill birds of prey” is a load of crap. Now if you were a real conservationist as many profess, then you would realise they play a vital role in the ecosystem as do other wildlife that is killed because it’s a threat to game birds, like stoats, foxes, corvids, oh and hares. They clean up road kill, they eat the rotting carcasses of game birds that are chucked in a pile somewhere in the woods, they take the sick, the young, the old, that’s just nature. Try watching a few documentaries, you might learn something. Your obviously not living in the 21st century, best you get back in the Hot Tub Time Machine back to the right century. You have confirned what we are fighting against & we will win! maybe you’ll pay a visit to Mr Mutch. We see you.

  24. 52 Damion Willcock
    January 12, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    A great day. This is a strong message and will surely make raptor killers think twice. Well done to everyone who has worked to achieve this outcome. Shout this result from the rooftops!

  25. 53 michael gill
    January 12, 2015 at 10:33 pm

    The response from the SGA is an astounding piece of logic …

    * We are committed to ending wildlife crime
    * Killing raptors is a wildlife crime”
    * Make killing raptors not a crime”
    * Ta da

  26. 54 Bimbliing
    January 12, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    The police statement contradicts the sheriff who said it (persecution of birds of prey) was “a huge problem”.

    Who’s going to sort the Police out? They are praised by DOE from RSPB but then come out with this sort of sh1te! Some corrective needing applied to Superintendent Geo MacDonald? Maybe he does a wee bit of shooting?

  27. 55 Les Wallace
    January 12, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    Yes great news! Prepare for the inevitable ‘man loses livelihood due to a few birds’ from the predictable orgs. Aye, people being pushed (although some may not need much encouragement) to kill birds of prey so that the spoiled and arrogant can blast a few more pheasants and/or grouse out of the sky. They are the ones who are truly responsible for people losing their livelihood, fantastic animals being slaughtered and all of us losing our natural heritage. I think we need to emphasise that wildlife and human welfare are affected by a large element of the Field Sports sector, a hybrid of Victorian Attitudes and Serfdom.

  28. January 12, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    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.”

    Nice to see you’re not at all biased. Wee newsflash for you, these gamekeepers you clearly despise do far more to protect your precious raptors than you could ever do.

    • January 13, 2015 at 12:24 am

      Of course they do, mate. That’s why Mutch is convicted gamekeeper #28 in the last four years:

      Feb 2011: Gamekeeper Connor Patterson convicted of causing animal fights between dogs, foxes and badgers.
      May 2011: Gamekeeper Ivan Mark Crane convicted of using an illegal trap.
      May 2011: Gamekeeper Ivan Peter Crane convicted of using an illegal trap.
      May 2011: Gamekeeper Dean Barr convicted of being in possession of a banned poison.
      May 2011: Gamekeeper James Rolfe convicted of being in possession of a dead red kite.
      June 2011: Gamekeeper Glenn Brown convicted of using an illegal trap.
      October 2011: Gamekeeper Craig Barrie convicted of illegal possession & control of a wild bird
      Dec 2011: Gamekeeper Christopher John Carter convicted of causing a fight between two dogs and a fox.
      Dec 2011: Gamekeeper Luke James Byrne convicted of causing three animal fights and possession of three dead wild birds (heron, cormorant, buzzard).
      Jan 2012: Gamekeeper David Whitefield convicted of poisoning 4 buzzards.
      Jan 2012: Gamekeeper Cyril McLachlan convicted of possessing a banned poison.
      April 2012: Gamekeeper Robert Christie convicted of illegal use of a trap.
      June 2012: Gamekeeper Jonathan Smith Graham convicted of illegal use of a trap.
      Sept 2012: Gamekeeper Tom McKellar convicted of possessing a banned poison.
      Nov 2012: Gamekeeper Bill Scobie convicted of possessing and using a banned poison.
      Jan 2013: Gamekeeper Robert Hebblewhite convicted of poisoning buzzards.
      Feb 2013: Gamekeeper Shaun Allanson convicted of illegal use of a trap.
      Feb 2013: Gamekeeper (un-named) cautioned for illegal use of a trap.
      May 2013: Gamekeeper Brian Petrie convicted for trapping offences.
      June 2013: Gamekeeper Peter Bell convicted for poisoning a buzzard.
      July 2013: Gamekeeper Colin Burne convicted for trapping then battering to death 2 buzzards.
      Sept 2013: Gamekeeper Andrew Knights convicted for storing banned poisons.
      Dec 2013: Gamekeeper Wayne Priday convicted for setting an illegal trap.
      Feb 2014 Gamekeeper Ryan Waite convicted for setting an illegal trap.
      May 2014 Gamekeeper Derek Sanderson convicted for storing five banned poisons.
      July 2014 Gamekeeper Mark Stevens convicted for setting illegal traps.
      October 2014 Gamekeeper Allen Lambert convicted for poisoning 11 raptors, illegal storage and use of pesticides & possession of a poisoner’s kit.
      December 2014 Gamekeeper George Mutch convicted for illegal use of traps, illegal killing of a goshawk, illegal taking of a goshawk, illegal taking of a buzzard.

  29. 58 John mark
    January 13, 2015 at 5:37 am

    If the law said the owner of the shooting estates were liable …. That any employee found to persecuting them
    The owner would be liable as well …. You would find that not many game keepers would do it then

  30. 59 John Miles
    January 13, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Here is another twist in the tail. The Forestry Commission want to give land owners lots of money to control Grey Squirrels. At the same time the land owners kill Goshawks and Pine Martens [Scotland – already extinct in England and Wales] the species that control Grey Squirrel numbers. A petition now wants FC to stop – http://www.thepetitionsite.com/679/501/974/stop-the-uk-grey-squirrel-cull/?z00m=22491413&redirectID=1563521349
    But like so many petitions it does not answer the real problem which is stopping the land owners killing the very predators that control the Grey Squirrel. I am sure the public and these readers are not aware of the real problems in the country and especially the effect this killing of predators is really having at a cost to themselves.

    • 60 crypticmirror
      January 13, 2015 at 1:14 pm

      All for stopping culling Martens and Goshawks, but those little grey Charlie uniform November tangos they can die in a fire for all I care. If it satiates the landowners bloodlust on the greys for a while then I’m all for it. Wee American tree rats. I’ll work for the eradication of persecution of native wildlife, and even the controlled reintroduction of creatures like beaver, lynx, and pelican, but grey tree rats, mink, japanese knotweed I’ll join in the chorus for killing them. Its two different issues.

  31. 62 Dave Dick
    January 13, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    I hope some of the politicians who we know read this blog have caught the jaw dropping nonsense given as a quote to the Daily Mail by a Supt George Macdonald. The small minority lie again..now, it is the Daily Mail, so accuracy is not assured but I think we can see the usual establishment stitch-up at work here.Once again a clear signal that the police are not the organisation who should be dealing with these crimes. Even with such a superb success they cant help but defend these criminals…Having said that, I know there are police officers out there who will be as disgusted as I am…but they dont run the show. Time for SSPCA to take over.

  32. January 13, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Two years volunteering/”community service” on a local RSPB reserve under the supervision of other volunteers and professionals to re-educate him be more effective than a prison sentence. It would take time, but in the long term it would be better for the wildlife and for him.

    • 65 Richard Towers
      January 13, 2015 at 4:14 pm

      That is one line I hadn’t considered. This would benefit everyone and incur minimal cost. The end result, everyone wins, including nature and wildlife habitats.

      • 66 Fay Mathieson
        January 13, 2015 at 9:08 pm

        I have been awaiting the outcome of this case for what seems too long and always thought a prison term suitable, a deterrent that would work. Now Mr Mutch is behind bars for a few weeks, he will have time on his hands to think. Will he lose it all? only his boss will know, will he kill raptors again? who knows!
        What I cannot agree with is some of the comment on here practically gloating at his mistakes in his work and family life. Sat in his cell Mutch will know what a fool he has been, lets hope he comes out of jail a better man

  33. January 13, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    Mutch got no more than what he deserved. The game industry have had decades to stop persecution themselves but were never going to. They expect to be a law to themselves. Prison sentences is the only way to stop the slaughter of Scotland’s iconic birds of prey which the public so enjoy. Well done to all who brought this case to the rightful conclusion. For once justice as been done. Especially well done to the Scottish Government who have become the driver in tackling this well entrenched illegal & barbaric persecution of our birds of prey. Thanks Mr Wheelhouse & also Ms Cunningham from her stint in position. They knew what was going on. They both could read between the lines of the SGA agenda. I do so hope the new incumbent is of a similar stature. From their statement it doesn’t appear that the SGA have changed their anti raptor stance one iota. There are some very decent members of that organisation who understand & accept the role of raptors, however it would appear that the ones in office are ingrained with prejudice & until that bigoted policy changes we can sadly expect more criminality in Scotland’s countryside.

  34. 68 Marco McGinty
    January 13, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    Considering the GWCT appeared to offer this criminal their full support during the court case, that particular organisation has been very quiet since the verdict and subsequent sentencing.

    I would have thought that the guilty verdict, or the sentencing, would have merited some mention by them, perhaps even condemning the criminal, but there’s been nothing. Does anyone know if the GWCT is still offering support for this criminal?

    • January 13, 2015 at 6:42 pm

      Here’s what the GWCT have been busy doing:

      http://www.gwct.org.uk/donate/gun-draw/

      Yes, that’s right, hand in hand with William Powell, which is owned by Mr Mark Osborne. Amazing.

      • 70 Marco McGinty
        January 13, 2015 at 8:04 pm

        Now would that be the same Mark Osborne that coincidentally has links to a number of shoots where illegal wildlife persecution has been suspected?

        In relation to the page you have linked to, the GWCT are appealing for money to “help the GWCT provide the evidence that will counter incorrect allegations against shooting by measuring and publishing the myriad of conservation ‘wins’ shoots can and do achieve.” As we know that GWCT representatives read this blog, and sometimes contribute, would someone from that organisation be willing to provide evidence of these “incorrect allegations”? Or is it just another case of the GWCT lying to promote their own agenda?

        • 71 Marco McGinty
          January 16, 2015 at 5:21 pm

          Ah, now as the GWCT appear to have completely ignored a simple question, I shall assume that their claim of “incorrect allegations against shooting” is indeed a lie. However, in the interests of fairness, and the possibility that my comment and question was somehow missed, I will ask the question again.

          Would someone from the GWCT be willing to provide evidence of these “incorrect allegations”?

  35. 72 Circus maxima
    January 13, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    I see the SGA have dragged Fergus Ewing as the face of their latest fund raiser…
    http://news.scottishgamekeepers.co.uk/2015/01/keepers-days-why-not-help-sga.html
    Somebody should be asking the minister if he is actually endorsing this campaign……or are the SGA just misrepresenting the facts again?????

    If he is supporting the campaign….?

  36. 73 Richard H
    January 14, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    There’s no way I can watch that video, let’s hope he enjoys his time in jail.

    Hopefully, some of the other inmates will give him time to “reflect” on his actions.

  37. 74 Marco McGinty
    January 14, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    A very interesting piece on the STV news detailing new techniques that could be used to catch wildlife criminals. Scientist from Abertay University are now able to use forensic fingerprinting on feathers and eggs, and would be able to match the fingerprints to the criminals.

    No doubt, those organisations that support the widespread criminal activities of the shooting industry will be screaming that it is an abuse of their human rights (or some such pish), but hopefully this will be another vital tool in the fight against the countryside killers. Let’s hope that each recovered body is put through the process, and each suspected gamekeeper and landowner is fingerprinted as standard procedure.

    More here
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-30802401
    http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/scotland/abertay-university-fingerprint-breakthrough-a-great-step-forward-in-fighting-wildlife-crime-1.786444

    • 75 crypticmirror
      January 15, 2015 at 12:42 am

      Handy to know. A little bit of publicity on this might, along with a few more gaol sentences, might give some of the usual suspects a few sleepless nights and second thoughts.


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