A Royal Marine bit the head off a pigeon during an all-day drinking session, a court has heard.
Commando Adam Karmali, 33, sunk his teeth into the bird as he drank lager with friends near the banks of the River Taff in Bute Park, Cardiff.
He was caught after police carried out forensic tests on the headless pigeon’s body – and discovered his DNA on its neck.
Now, the soldier has been handed a 12-month community order after admitting a charge of ‘not taking all reasonable steps to ensure the needs of an animal he was responsible for were met’.
Karmali, who lives in Wimborne, Dorset, had been visiting the Welsh capital with friends when he captured the pigeon in the park, Cardiff Magistrates’ Court heard.
He then posed for pictures with the live bird’s head in his mouth, before biting it off and spitting it on to the ground.
A female passerby was so horrified that she phoned police, who arrived to find the headless pigeon lying in the grass, the court heard.
Officers later carried out forensic tests on the pigeon – and discovered Karmali’s DNA on teethmarks around the bird’s neck.
Mike Curry, prosecuting, said: ‘This was a sickening offence carried out while drunk.
‘Karmali captured a pigeon and put it in his mouth and as the group took pictures he bit its head off.
‘A witness was so appalled police were contacted, the remains were recovered and a DNA match was discovered which led him to being arrested.’
Monique McKevitt, defending, said that biting the head off a pigeon was ‘clearly an unacceptable and repulsive act’.
But she said that Karmali faced being expelled out of the forces if he was given a prison sentence for the crime.
‘There will be internal disciplinary procedures not only for the act itself but for bringing the Royal Marines reputation into disrepute,’ she said.
Sentenced: After capturing the pigeon in the park, the soldier posed for photos with the live bird’s head, before biting it off and spitting it on to the ground. Above, Karmali is pictured with a shark in Australia two years ago
‘He would never normally behave that way and he feels extreme remorse and shame.’
Magistrates’ panel chairman Robert Cozens told Karmali that biting the head off a pigeon was punishable by prison.
However, he agreed that the Commando should be spared jail because it would end his career.
Sentencing Karmali, Mr Cozens told him: ‘We have taken great consideration over this and we consider the serious and pretty awful offence as having passed the custody threshold.
Guilty: He has now been handed a 12-month community order and told to complete 150 hours’ unpaid work
‘However, we have heard from your Captain you have a good military record and that this is out of character.
‘Because of your early guilty plea and the remorse you have shown we have brought your sentence down a level.’
Karmali was also ordered to complete 150 hours’ unpaid work.
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