Joshua Godfrey Aidan Heka

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Joshua Godfrey Aidan Heka

Published on stuff.co.nz on May 8 2014

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/10024622/Trapper-jailed-for-abusing-possum

WARNING: DETAILED CONTENT

A trapper has been jailed after videoing himself nailing a live possum to a tree and cutting the limbs of another.

Joshua Godfrey Aidan Heka, 28, was convicted today in Whangarei District Court on 10 counts of wilfully ill-treating an animal with the result that the animal died, plus two counts of possessing objectionable material. He was sentenced to two years and four months in prison, the New Zealand SPCA said.

Police found the videos on Heka’s iPod when they were called to his home on an unrelated matter and were alerted to the videos by another member of the household.

In one series of videos a possum is shown nailed and stapled to a tree through its tail, arm, shoulder and leg. The possum can be heard screaming. Heka hit the possum’s head several times with a hammer, the SPCA said.

In another video Heka hacked the limbs off a possum which then made a futile effort to flee, before Heka cut its head off.

Heka used a hammer to break the legs of another possum which was clearly alive, before hitting it on the head with the hammer and then stomping on its head. Heka also taunted the possums.

“Heka’s crimes are genuinely disturbing and some of the worst offending we’ve seen,” SPCA chief executive Ric Odom said.

“Basically, people who abuse animals are also very likely to abuse people, so a custodial sentence is fully justified. We hope that such offenders also receive the professional help that they clearly need.”

Heka’s case raised issues about the treatment of pest animals. Possums must be killed humanely and unnecessary suffering avoided.