Bridgnorth man with six-inch knife 'hunted rabbits after losing benefits'
A man who claims to survive on the streets in Bridgnorth by killing and eating wild rabbits after his benefits were stopped has escaped a prison sentence for possession of a hunting knife.
Christopher Andrew James Jones-Morgan said he needs the hunting knife which has a six-inch blade for when he goes rabbiting with his two lurchers, in order to gut the rabbits he catches before eating them.
The 43 year-old claims he only eats raw rabbits and has five or six a week. He says he drinks water from the river and lives on the street in Bridgnorth.
Jones-Morgan was on trial at Llandrindod Wells Magistrates Court on Wednesday, after he denied possessing a hunting knife at Wye View Terrace, Builth Wells, on August 25.
Prosecuting, Stephen Davies said police were called to Wye View Terrace, Jones-Morgan’s mother’s address, on August 25 because of another domestic incident.
While they were trying to arrest Jones-Morgan’s girlfriend, they saw him throwing a knife into a hedgerow.
PC Phillip Saunders said he was on duty with PC Woods when they could see and hear Jones-Morgan in the distance and he was pacing towards them. He drew a knife and threw it into a bush. The knife was later recovered and it was found to be a hunting knife with a six-inch blade.
In interview Jones-Morgan said he had been rabbiting in the morning and he had his knife with him for the hunt. He said he needed the rabbits to eat them. He said he threw the knife away when he saw the police because he got scared and he did not want to lose the knife or get in trouble for having it.
Clive Rees, defending, said Jones-Morgan had lost his benefits about two years ago because the authorities felt he was fit to work.
Jones-Morgan said: “The next best thing to do, because I haven’t got any money, is to take my dogs and go hunting for my food. I live off rabbits, that’s all I eat.
But he said that on the morning of the incident he had not caught any rabbits and was going to another field to try and find some when he saw his girlfriend being arrested and he asked the police what was going on.
“I lost my head. I threw the knife away because I did not want to lose it, its survival for me," he said.
"I use the knife to gut the rabbits. I live off the land. I eat them raw, I don’t cook them and I have about five or six rabbits a week and the dogs have some too.
“The knife is my work tool, I am not going to stab anybody with it. I bought the knife about two years ago at the Winter Fair in Builth Wells and it was sold to me as a hunting knife.
“Since I was arrested I have not had my knife back and I have just been drinking water. I have got no way of catching anything without my knife,” he said.
Jones-Morgan said he could not gut and cook the rabbits at his mother’s house because she would not let him.
However the magistrates said they were not satisfied that at that particular time he was hunting or that he had a good enough reason for having the knife on him.
They imposed a six month prison sentence suspended for two years. Jones-Morgan was ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work within 12 months and he was fined £115 but no costs were awarded.