Thousands of people have signed a petition calling on the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to pursue anti-Brexit barrister Jolyon Maugham for his allegedly “unnecessary and cruel bludgeoning of a trapped and scared fox” in Central London on Boxing Day.
Maugham, the son of David Benedictus, an Old Etonian former tutor to the Rothschilds, is a barrister with “a particular specialism in litigating tax avoidance transactions”, according to his Accountancy Daily profile, and first gained public notoriety when was denounced for having “represented celebrity tax dodge film schemes” by the right-leaning press after the Labour Party took him on as an adviser in 2015.
More recently, however, he has become better known as the driving force behind a number of Brexit-related lawsuits, second only to Guyanese millionaire and Castro admirer Gina Miller.
The QC had been dubbed “Windmill Jolyon” by critics after his luxurious countryside retreat in a converted windmill, but received the even less desirable sobriquet #JolyonTheFoxKiller after an ill-judged tweet announcing he had bludgeoned a fox to death with a baseball bat while wearing his wife’s “too small” kimono on Boxing Day morning.
a fox is stuck in some netting in your garden. Do you a) call the RSPCA to either free, or if necessary euthanise the animal or b) beat it to death with a baseball bat and then offer this to twitter as an amusing anecdote? pic.twitter.com/bdSbRMJhLr
— Bert Dalziel (@BertDalziel) December 26, 2019
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSCPCA), a welfare charity which pursues thousands of private prosecutions against alleged animal abusers every year, was quickly alerted to the lawyer’s tweet, describing his anecdote as “distressing to hear” and urging people “with firsthand knowledge” of the killing to report it to them.
The RSPCA is now reported to have visited Maugham’s London pad to retrieve he slain fox and take pictures of the scene of the killing, and public calls for legal action against him are intensifying, with a petition for prosecutors to take him to task for “his unnecessary and cruel bludgeoning of a trapped and scared fox” having attracted close to 10,000 signatures and rising as of the time of publication.
A leading law firm has come forward and offered to work pro bono on this animal welfare case https://t.co/qypYrbmWqs
— Guido Fawkes (@GuidoFawkes) December 27, 2019
Maugham initially appeared to treat the killing with some levity after his first tweet announcing “Already this morning I have killed a fox with a baseball bat. How’s your Boxing Day going?”
“It’s only 8am!” he joked with one user who had asked “Just the 1?”
“Imagine me, slightly post-Xmas in Claire’s kimono, wielding bat in urban garden,” he teased another.
The lawyer’s tone seemed to change as it became clear that the majority reaction to his Boxing Day tale was not one of mirth, however, with follow-up tweets clarifying that he was “slightly shocked by the whole tooth-and-claw experience when I tweeted and that was what I was trying to convey.”
Elsewhere, he offered that he “shoot[s] rabbits for food too; and butcher[s] them”, and that in his view it is “quite important for anyone who eats meat to have a sense of what’s actually involved.”
He had also claimed that his chickens were “pretty distressed” by the fox, which was trapped in netting nearby to them he found it, that he did not think the RSPCA would have anyone on call in London on Boxing Day morning — although the charity later confirmed that they did — and that he imagined the RSPCA would have done the same as him if they had come out, anyway.
Jolyon's children as he sits there in a bloodsoaked kimono furiously defending his animal murder on Twitter pic.twitter.com/ykR8NkVgtf
— Scott (@scottm__) December 26, 2019