Students posted a pet hamster
PUBLISHED: 11:40 19 January 2006 | UPDATED: 11:27 04 May 2010
GIFTED university student David Jordan shoved a tiny hamster into an envelope and posted it in a revenge attack. He sent the hamster, named First Class by his rescuers, to a man who had threatened him, a court heard. But the Syrian hamster was rescued by
GIFTED university student David Jordan shoved a tiny hamster into an envelope and posted it in a revenge attack.
He sent the hamster, named First Class by his rescuers, to a man who had threatened him, a court heard.
But the Syrian hamster was rescued by a postman who discovered it trying to nibble its way out of the envelope when he opened a post box.
Jordan, 19, of Columbine Road, Ely had posted the hamster four months after he followed a driver who had been patrolling the Cambridge University campus.
The driver blocked his car and threatened him and his friends and he wanted to take revenge on him, the court heard.
He wanted to "cause confusion and make him look after it," he told police. Although he knew he could get into trouble it never crossed his mind "that it was morally wrong."
Jordan's actions were explained to the court as an "immature and stupid" prank after getting "plastered" at a Cambridge University garden party.
But magistrates rejected these claims and decided that the hamster was posted in a planned and premeditated act.
They banned him from keeping animals for 10 years after hearing that First Class had been uninjured by its ordeal and rehomed.
Ely Magistrates Court was told on Tuesday that Jordan, an academically gifted student in his second year of a computer science course at Churchill College, had bought the hamster for £5.99 from a Cambridge pet shop.
A week earlier the shop manageress had refused to sell the pet to Jordan and fellow student James Cole, when they turned up holding a can of beer.
But on June 22 when the pair returned to the shop appearing "sober and sensible" the manageress sold the hamster. But Jordan gave a false name and address.
Fifteen minutes later Jordan and Cole went to a public toilet where they put the hamster in a hard-backed envelope, designed to take photos, with a first class stamp and posted it to an address in Seymour Street, Cambridge.
Prosecuting for the RSPCA, Michael Taylor told the court that if the hamster had not been found it would have ended up in the sorting office where it would have gone into a spinning drum before being bagged up.
The hamster was rehomed with a Cambridge veterinary nurse and an appeal was put out through Crimestoppers which tracked down Jordan and Coles.
Jordan and Coles, 19, of Southampton, both admitted abandoning a hamster to cause it unnecessary suffering.
Mitigating for Jordan, Christine Metcalfe, told the court that the incident could affect his future career and he could be left explaining it to an employer in 15 or 20 years' time.
She said: "It was a misguided, ill-thought out prank rather than with the intention of injuring the animal. It was an immature and stupid prank which Mr Jordan has come to regret very much and accepts the reality of the situation, which has been made abundantly clear to him."
The court heard that Jordan is academically gifted but with an immature side to his character.
Chairman of the magistrates, Hamish Ross, told the pair that as they had returned to the pet shop to buy the hamster it was premeditated and planned.
"These were not the actions of two drunk students as part of a spontaneous student jape," he said.
He told Jordan: "You have worked hard representing Churchill College and it is a great shame that this has been blighted by your stupidity."
Pleas for a conditional discharge for the students were rejected and Jordan was fined £750 with £100 costs. Coles was fined £500 with £100 costs and banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
After the case RSPCA Inspector Chris Nice said: "Both defendants are indeed young men who have shown poor judgement apparently motivated by revenge with little consideration shown towards the animal in question.
"Student pranks are not an excuse for dismissing the welfare of an animal.