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21st Jun 2023

Sunderland man who abused seagull due to be sentenced

Jack Peat

David Lee has pleaded guilty to the offence

A Sunderland man who watched porn as he masturbated over a captured seagull is due to be sentenced today.

David Lee, who lives in the Roker area of the city close to the old football ground, admitted to causing unnecessary suffering to the bird at 1am last August 17.

CCTV footage of the “bizarre” incident on Gladstone Street was played at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court which showed Lee chasing one bird before picking up a smaller gull.

He was seen looking at his phone while holding the bird between his legs and masturbating.

Once he had finished, he pulled up his pants and gave the bird a “little kick”, the court heard.

The Mackem man was arrested at a nearby takeaway and told police he picked up the gull because he thought it was hurt and was looking on his phone to find out what he should do.

But instead of searching for a vet’s phone number, as he claimed to have done, police checks revealed Lee had actually been looking at porn sites, the court was told.

The charge against Lee initially said he put his penis in the bird’s beak, but that detail was changed to say he “took a wild bird and undertook a sexual act, thereby unnecessary suffering was caused”.

Annalisa Moscardini, defending, said Lee has a history of “mental ill health” and asked for a psychiatric report to be prepared ahead of sentencing.

The findings will be heard today as the man is sentenced.

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