Gamekeeper’s apprentice filmed his dogs ripping apart a fox on a Norfolk estate neighbouring the Queen’s Sandringham residence.

Gamekeeper’s apprentice was spared jail after filming his dog rip apart foxes on a country estate in Norfolk, which neighbours the Queen’s Sandringham residence. Luke Byne – then 16 – made three sickening films using a mobile phone while goading his dog to attack a rat and fox in separate attacks – while he was on work experience.

Luke Byrne was just 16 when he goaded his dog into attacking a rat and a fox in separate attacks which he recorded on his mobile phone. The offences only came to light when Byrne’s parents sold his phone to an unsuspecting woman without wiping the memory who contacted the RSPCA.  Byrne captured the sickening footage as he shadowed gamekeeper Christopher Carter, 49, on West Acre country estate near the Queen’s Sandringham residence, in Norfolk.

‘Kill it, kill it': Byrne was heard on the video footage goading his dog to attack the defenceless fox

The youth, now aged 19, made three films, including one capturing the moment he laughs as his terrier-cross Sid mauls a fox trapped in a snare.

In one clip he can be heard screaming ‘kill it, kill it, kill it,’ as a helpless animal loses its life, during his school work placement.

In another film Byrne, of King’s Lynn, Norfolk, goads two dogs belonging to professional wildlife manager Carter as they savage a fox. On Friday Byrne was sentenced to four months custody, suspended for 12 months.

Christopher Carter was sentenced to eight weeks behind bars, also suspended for 12 months.

Astonishingly both men were told they would be allowed to keep the dogs they had set upon helpless animals.

Sentencing them at King’s Lynn Magistrates Court, Chairman of the Bench Mrs Allison Wakes-Miller said: ‘We do not think you should be deprived of the care of your dogs. ‘It was a one-off incident that was out of character.’

Byrne had admitted three counts of causing an animal to fight at a previous hearing.

The animal scraps he filmed were between a dog and a rat, on 20 June 2009, and between and a dog and a fox, on 15 June 2009.

He also admitted three counts of possession of a wild dead animal, which were a heron, a cormorant and a buzzard.

He was sentenced alongside  estate gamekeeper Carter, who admitted an offence of causing an animal to fight with his dogs, Patterdale terriers Nobby and Rib.

On Friday Byrne was sentenced to four months custody, suspended for 12 months

Byrne was ordered to pay £500 costs, while Carter was ordered to pay £1,000 court costs.

Both men were ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work in the community.

Read more of this sickening story here:  


5 comments to Gamekeeper’s apprentice filmed his dogs ripping apart a fox on a Norfolk estate neighbouring the Queen’s Sandringham residence.

  • paul williams

    ( A one off incident that was out of character according to magistrates)???? More like this was the first time they have been caught. This sentence really sucks.

  • I agree with you Paul, what hope is there for our persecuted wildlife when such cruelty is treated with this sort of attitude? Of course this wasn’t the first time, this sort of behaviour doesn’t just happen, they enjoyed watching an animal suffer and all they have received is a smack on the wrist. They will, of course do it again. I certainly wouldn’t want them doing any community work for me, who in their right mind would?

  • Ann Cardwell

    I seem to recall Richard Benyon saying in the House of Commons last year “There are very good laws in place to punish the illegal killing of any animal. If they are not being effectively enforced, they must be and we will take steps to make sure that happens”. Well Mr Benyon with instances like this I think it’s about time you placed your money where your mouth is, because clearly the laws designed to protect wild animals in England are not being enforced as they should be, and as you can see here the penalties are of no consequence and certainly are no deterrent.

  • Agreed Anne and with no support from the RSPB for our e-petition there is very little hope of us getting the law of vicarious liability even debated let alone passed.

    210,567 people signed their petition for birds of prey many of whom comment on here, where is the support we were promised? because it isn’t happening and without it we are not going to succeed, is it because it wasn’t their idea or is it because they do not want to upset the many landowners who line their pockets?

    The RSPB have over a million members many of whom would certainly support the petition all they have to do is ask their members in the magazine, I was led to believe that they were going to support the e-petition but words are cheap, to think that I was considering rejoining the RSPB, well not at the moment that’s for sure.

    What a shame that Mark Avery is no longer Conservation Director as he is certainly supporting the petition but Martin Harper, no relation, is strangely keeping very quiet.

  • Taidgh Woolnough

    This just sends shivers down my spine I have been working on estates for three years and never heard anything as vile as this