An elderly donkey which gave children rides around London’s Blackheath for two decades has been stabbed as part of what his owner suspects was a “sickening gang initiation”.
The donkey, named Bimbo, has been “retired” since 2012, and is cared for on grounds near Eltham Palace in the south-east of Britain’s hyper-diverse capital, along with other animals.
Bimbo and another donkey wandered from their enclosure through inadequate fencing on Thursday or Friday. They were retrieved by volunteer Lucy Morris, who told the local News Shopper newspaper that she noticed Bimbo had acquired “a kick or gash oozing from [his] side.”
Bimbo was transported to a vet in Sevenoaks, where it was confirmed he had received a three-inch knife wound near his stomach, which had become infected.
Owner Lorayne Ahmet said that while most of the donkeys are “quite shy” Bimbo is friendly to people due to his many years working with children — “I think that’s why they went for him,” she said.
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“It’s absolutely despicable, I don’t know how anyone could do something like this to a defenceless animal,” Ms Ahmet said.
“The donkeys are part of my family, and it feels like a personal attack on one of us.
“I don’t know what would drive anybody to ever do this. I think it must be some sort of sickening gang initiation,” she suggested, adding that if she would “like to get my hands on them, put them in a field and let the general public do what they want with them.”
A crowdfunding page to pay for Bimbo’s veterinary bills, improve his enclosure’s fencing, and possibly install security cameras has been set up.
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Violent gang initiations are a known feature of underclass culture in modern Britain, with a 15-year-old being convicted in 2017 of inflicting a life-changing and almost fatal wound on another teenager in St Ann’s during an “initiation stabbing” — for which he received a short two-year detention order.
The Chingford Hall E4 gang which terrorises “Britain’s most dangerous street” alongside the rival, Albanian-led Selrack gang in Walthamstow, north-east London is also reported to use “Street fighting and robbery… as initiation rites into the gang”.
At arguably the most extreme end of the criminal spectrum, gang member turned Home Office advisor Gwenton Sloly has claimed some groups order prospective recruits to carry out acid attacks to be accepted as members.
“If you shoot someone the wounds are not visible – same with a stabbing,” Sloly explained.
“With acid they will be walking around with scars for the rest of their lives.
“The person who did it will be saying, ‘that’s my Van Gogh’.”
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