Man could face jail time for killing rare butterfly
LONDON – A man is now facing jail time after he climbed over a locked gate with a net and killed a rare butterfly.
Phillip Cullen, 57, was found guilty of of capturing, killing and possessing specimens of the “Large Blue butterfly,” the country’s rarest butterfly.
According to the New York Times, Cullen could face a maximum of six months in prison, but has denied the charges.
“It is an offense to capture, kill or possess that butterfly because it is a protected species in the U.K. It is a unique case,” prosecutor Kevin Withey said. “There has never been a prosecution in terms of capturing and killing.”
Cullen was seen in June 2015 at a nature reserve running after the butterflies with a net.
He was also seen acting “suspiciously” at another Large Blue butterfly hot spot in a different location.
A butterfly expert at the nature reserve, who photographed Cullen trying to catch a Large Blue, confronted Cullen who said he was looking for wasps.
Police were suspicious of his actions and raided his home in 2016.
Hundreds of dead butterflies in glass cases were discovered.
Two dead Large Blue butterflies were found among the other butterflies.
Cullen said he had traded butterflies before, but those were legally bought.
Cullen will be sentenced in April.