Jo Maugham will not face charges over beating fox to death with baseball bat

5 March 2020, 20:25

Jolyon Maugham tweeted about killing the fox
Jolyon Maugham tweeted about killing the fox. Picture: PA
Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

The RSPCA will not be pursuing a case against a leading Europhile lawyer who said he beat a fox to death with a baseball bat on Boxing Day.

The animal charity said in a statement on Thursday that it was determined there was not a criminal case to be carried forward against Jolyon Maugham under legislation relating to animals or wildlife.

It added: "An independent post mortem and forensic veterinary assessment of the fox's body was carried out and findings indicate the fox was killed swiftly."

The 48-year-old barrister sparked outrage last year after tweeting: "Already this morning I have killed a fox with a baseball bat. How's your Boxing Day going?"

He explained he "wasn't sure what else to do" after the animal got caught in the netting around his chicken coop.

READ MORE: Brexit challenge barrister Jo Maugham says he battered fox to death

It is not illegal to kill a fox, but the government says it should be killed "humanely" if it gets caught in a trap or a snare.

In response to the RSPCA, Mr Maugham, said on Twitter he "welcomed" the decision.

He said: "I note what the RSPCA says about killing a fox. Their advice differs from the government's advice to householders which says one "must" - in other words, you have no choice to - humanely kill any fox caught on your property and that you "shouldn't release captured foxes."

The British barrister went on to say he was "profoundly sorry" for the "upset" people felt over the tone of his tweets.

"It was my intention to convey in a gently self-deprecating manner the incongruity of my Boxing Day morning. I got that wrong," he added.

"As to my actions, in the situation in which I found myself - needing to act in great haste to save the chickens my family keeps - I did not have the luxury of time to reflect on the competing ethical approaches of the RSPCA and Natural England.

"Of course, I respect the different assessments others might, equally reasonably, have made."