Fan jailed for trying to punch eagle mascot

Daniel Boylett
Daniel Boylett was found guilty on March 31.

A Charlton Athletic fan found guilty of trying to punch Crystal Palace’s bald eagle mascot Kayla has been jailed.

Last month, Daniel Boylett was found guilty of swinging at the £20,000 eagle as she was paraded around the pitch before a supporter violence-marred League Cup tie at Selhurst Park on September 23, 2015.

He was caught on stadium CCTV swinging his arm at the bird, with prosecutor Daniel Higgins telling the jury that, if the punch had landed, Kayla’s bones would have shattered due to her delicate bone structure.

The 36-year-old was also found guilty of violent disorder after he was caught on CCTV throwing a punch towards a steward in the midst of violent scenes in the Arthur Wait stand in the second half of the match, which Palace won 4-1.

On Friday (April 28), Boylett, of Altash Way, Eltham, was sentenced to 21 months in prison and issued with a six-year Football Banning Order.

Kayla has regularly been brought to Crystal Palace matches by handler Chris Belsey since the American bald eagle was adopted as a mascot in 2010, and is usually paraded on the pitch and poses for pictures with fans.

Crystal Palace, who are nicknamed The Eagles, adopted Kayla as a mascot in 2010.

Boylett had claimed he lashed out at the bird of prey in self-defence.

Three other men were also sentenced on the same day for disorder at the match.

From left: Sam Donnegan, Colin Kitto, and Billy Cowcher

Colin Kitto, 49, of Middle Park Avenue, Eltham, was jailed for 18 months after previously being found guilty of committing violent disorder on Clifton Road in Selhurst prior to the game. He was also issued a six-year Football Banning Order.

Sam Donnegan, 25, was jailed for nine months, a sentence that was suspended for two years.

Donnegan, of Porthkerry Avenue, Welling, was also ordered to complete 150 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £1,000 costs after previously being found guilty of affray on Holmesdale Road in Croydon after the game.

Donnegan was arrested after throwing a weighted traffic cone towards Crystal Palace Supporters. He was issued with a three-year Football Banning Order.

Billy Cowcher, 32, of Glasbrook Road, Eltham, was jailed for 12 months, a sentence that was suspended for two years. He was given 200 hours unpaid work requirement, and ordered to pay £1,000 costs after previously pleading guilty to violent disorder inside Selhurst Park, after he attacked stewards. He was given a three-year Football Banning Order.

Detective Sergeant Andy Collin said: “Violence amongst supporters has no place in football; be it before, during or after a match. The trial Judge described the violence that night as serious and sustained.

“These sentences show that anyone who chooses to engage in violence will be pursued by officers and placed before the courts to answer for their behaviour. Twenty-one people have now been sentenced for their part in that night’s disorder.”


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