Man, 40, jailed for performing sex act over a baby seagull

Man, 40, jailed for performing sex act over a baby seagull

June 21, 2023

Man, 40, jailed for 24 weeks for performing sex act while kneeling over a captured baby seagull in Sunderland backstreet

  • David Lee, 40, watched ‘animal porn’ while masturbating with a gull in his hands
  • The heavy drinker suffered from blackouts and unstable personality disorder

A man who admitted masturbating to ‘animal porn’ while holding a baby seagull has been jailed for 24 weeks.

David Lee captured the baby seagull and took it down a back alley in Sunderland before pulling his trousers down and masturbating with the bird between his legs.  

The 40-year-old was later tracked down to a nearby takeaway, where he initially claimed to have been helping the baby gull by looking up a vet on his phone.

Police subsequently discovered Lee had been watching ‘animal porn’ during the incident, that was caught on a local resident’s CCTV camera.    

Magistrates at South Tyneside Magistrate’s Court handed the 40-year-old an immediate 24-week jail term and banned him from keeping animals for 10 years.

David Lee, 40, (pictured) was jailed for 24-weeks after admitting to masturbating to ‘animal porn’ while holding a baby seagull between his legs

Lee, of Roker Avenue, Sunderland, previously admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the herring gull during the incident at around 1am near Gladstone Street in Sunderland. 

The incident saw Lee, who was described as a heavy drinker with unstable personality disorder, put his phone on a box in the alleyway before engaging in a sex act with the seagull and then kicking the baby bird away.  

Lesley Burgess, prosecuting, said: ‘This was a deliberate and gratuitous act that caused suffering.’

Describing the incident, she said: ‘The defendant runs down the street trying to chase a seagull.

‘The footage then goes to the back alley and we see the defendant with a different, younger, baby gull in his arms.

‘We then see the defendant take his phone out of his pocket and puts it on a box.

‘He thereafter takes his trousers down, kneels down and it is very clear he is masturbating. He then goes on to move the gull between his legs.

‘For a time the defendant is engaging in a sexual act with the baby seagull.’

Ms Burgess said that when he had finished, Lee put the gull down, gave it a ‘small kick’ to shoo it away and walked off in the opposite direction.

David Lee, 40, (pictured) was filmed committing the sex act on a local resident’s CCTV camera before he was tracked down to a takeaway nearby

As during the previous hearing in April, seagulls on the roof of the court screeched noisily during the sentencing.

A local resident had checked her CCTV cameras and saw what happened, called the police and Lee was traced to a nearby takeaway.

He tried to tell police that he found the bird and picked it up because it was injured, and used his phone to find a vet.

However, Ms Burgess said: ‘Police took the phone and it was very clear he was accessing animal porn at the time.’

Ms Burgess said the crown obtained expert evidence from a vet who said the footage showed ‘the bird will have been caused unnecessary suffering by the act that the defendant did’.

In a victim statement which was read to the court, the woman who saw the offence on her CCTV said: ‘For almost a year the actions of this person have caused me a lot of mental stress and anxiety.

‘I am still haunted by what he did. I am unable to get his horrendous actions out of my head.

‘I sincerely hope the sentence today gives justice for the bird he defiled and for people like myself who were traumatised when they saw what he did, and it is a deterrent for anyone else who thinks animal abuse is acceptable.’

A psychiatric report said the 40-year-old (pictured) suffered from an unstable personality disorder 

Annalisa Moscardini, defending, said Lee was a heavy drinker who experienced blackouts.

‘He accepts he must have done this act but he didn’t have a good recollection of it,’ she said in explanation of his initial denials. To some extent he cannot explain what happened.’

A psychiatric report found he suffered from an unstable personality disorder and was detached from reality.

He was also a pathological liar whose lies served no purpose, the court heard.

Angela Thompson, chairman of the bench, said: ‘We find this is a deliberate attempt to cause suffering and a high level of suffering was caused.’

Anna Malia, of North East Animal Rights, attended court and, after the hearing, she said herring gulls were increasingly rare and have additional protection.

‘Because of the sexual nature of this crime, it has received significant attention in the local press with many jokes being made about it,’ she said.

‘But it is not funny or a subject to be joked about or mocked.’

Lee arrived at court by bike and it was taken away for safekeeping after he was jailed.

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