Archive

Tag Archives: Eltham

Daniel Boylett threw a punch at Crystal Palace's eagle mascot

Daniel Boylett threw a punch at Crystal Palace’s eagle mascot

A Charlton Athletic fan has been jailed for throwing a punch at Crystal Palace FC’s eagle mascot during a football match.

Daniel Boylett, 36, was today locked up for a total of 21 months for violent disorder and the attack on bald eagle Kayla during an away game at Selhurst Park in September 2015.

He was also banned from going to any football matches for six years.

Boylett, from Eltham in south east London, launched his attack on the 25-year-old bird of prey during a third-round cup tie which had descended into violence.

The eagle handler was walking Kayla around the pitch on his forearm when Boylett swung the punch.

Last month a jury found Boylett guilty of violent disorder and attempted criminal damage for the attack on Kayla after a trial lasting two weeks.

On Friday at Croydon Crown Court he was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment for violent disorder and three months in prison for attempted damage on the eagle. Both sentences will run concurrently.

Boylett’s lawyer claimed he had acted in self-defence as he did not expect to see a bird flying towards him.

The eagle sanctuary in Dartford where Kayla lives today said they were pleased Boylett had been jailed and his sentence shows attacks on animals are being taken seriously.

Samantha Ames, one of the directors at Eagle Heights Wildlife Foundation, told the Standard: “We are feeling very pleased that it’s been taken seriously and we are glad it sets a bit of a precedent to people.

“The way you treat animals is taken seriously.

“We were shocked and quite sad when it happened. It was quite a sad thing to hear about because she’s an innocent animal and she’s so beautiful and has such an amazing story.

“For someone to try and punch her we were shocked and sad.”

Ms Ames said Kayla was fine following the attack but since then the club and handlers have changed the way she interacts at the football ground.

“Now they don’t really take her close to the stands,” she said. “Which is unfortunate for the other people. ”

Prosecutor Daniel Higgins previously told the court: “As he [Chris Belsey, eagle handler] passed the stand he noticed three or four fans were shouting abuse and one of these three or four lent over the barrier and threw a punch directed at Kayla.

“Mr Belsey is unsure if the punch directed at the eagle had landed.”

Kayla joined Crystal Palace, whose nickname is the Eagles, as a mascot in 2010. Female bald eagles typically have a wingspan of around seven feet and live for an average of 20 to 30 years.
Evening Standard

Advertisements

• Daniel Boylett attacked bird of prey during Palace’s win over Charlton in 2015
• Kayla has been Palace’s mascot since 2010 and ‘seemed unhurt’ by incident

Kayla was attacked by Charlton Athletic fan Daniel Boylett during their visit to Selhurt Park for a Capital One Cup tie in September 2015. Photograph: Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Kayla was attacked by Charlton Athletic fan Daniel Boylett during their visit to Selhurt Park for a Capital One Cup tie in September 2015. Photograph: Scott Heavey/Getty Images

A Charlton Athletic supporter has been found guilty of trying to punch Crystal Palace’s American bald eagle mascot at a cup tie marred by crowd trouble.

A jury at Croydon crown court found Daniel Boylett, 36, of Eltham, south east London, guilty of attempted damage in the attack on Kayla, a 25-year-old bird of prey who Palace adopted as their mascot in 2010.

The jury took four hours and 22 minutes to reach all its verdicts, which stem from the ugly scenes which marred the Capital One Cup third-round tie at Selhurst Park on 23 September 2015. Charlton lost the match 4-1.

Boylett was also found guilty of violent disorder. He has been in the dock during the two-week trial alongside Colin Kitto, 49, of Eltham, Andy McConville, 48, of Rochester, Kent, Billy Cowcher, 32, of Greenwich, south east London, and Sam Donegan, 25, of Welling, Bexley, in south London, who had been charged with football violence.

Kitto was found guilty of violent disorder. Donegan was cleared of violent disorder but found guilty of an alternative charge of affray.

Kayla’s handler Chris Belsey had been walking her around the Selhurst Park pitch on his forearm when a punch was thrown from the crowd. Prosecutor Daniel Higgins previously told the court: “As he passed the stand he noticed three or four fans were shouting abuse and one of these three or four lent over the barrier and threw a punch directed at Kayla. Mr Belsey is unsure if the punch directed at the eagle had landed.”

Mr Higgins said Kayla “seemed unhurt”, but added “due to her delicate bone structure if she had been hit with force, her bones could easily break”.

Mr Higgins said there “was disorder at the match before, during and after” the game. Before the kick-off police had also spotted a “distinct group” of about five or six fans who had met at a pub in Thornton Heath, south London, before the match, according to Mr Higgins.

The first scuffles broke out as police escorted the Charlton supporters to the ground. Officers stood shoulder to shoulder as the crowd tried to push and break the police cordon to get to the rival fans. One officer suffered a cut lip after being hit by what he thought was a bottle.

After the match, Donegan ran at a police cordon wielding a large yellow cone. He ignored police shouts to stop and was subdued with a baton strike.

During his police interview, he said: “I was just annoyed, obviously. We just got battered. I just picked it up and let my anger out.”

McConville was found not guilty of violent disorder. The jury were directed to acquit Cowcher, Boylett, Kitto and McConville on a count of violent disorder due to insufficient evidence earlier this week. Not guilty verdicts were recorded.

The defendants were released on bail to be sentenced on 28 April.
The Guardian