Have you ever been on a mad night out and ended up doing something so ridiculous that you wake up the next day with hangover regret?
Getting kicked out of a club for vomiting on the dance floor, falling down a flight of stairs because you can’t stand up, or getting into a blazing argument with a bouncer over how drunk you are? And no, I’m not speaking from experience…
Well, perhaps nothing is as bad as one man from New Zealand who admitted being ‘high as a kite’ when he broke into a zoo and attempted to steal a monkey.
John Owen Casford, from Wellington, broke into Wellington Zoo in April, with the intention of stealing a monkey to give to his girlfriend.
Panic ensued the next morning when staff members could not find one of the monkeys, believing an intruder to have stolen it. Thankfully the monkey was just hiding though and was later found in the enclosure, still terrified after the encounter with Casford.
As reported by the New Zealand Herald, the 23-year-old appeared in Wellington District Court in September for sentencing on a charge of burglary, as well as unrelated violence charges.
It came to light that the 23-year-old broke through two padlocks to get into the enclosure, which housed squirrel monkeys.
Luckily, none of the monkeys were captured by Casford, although several of them were injured with one still suffering from stress months after the break in.
As reported by the New Zealand Herald, chief executive Karen Fifield said at the time that the monkeys’ injuries indicated they had been grabbed.
One monkey had a haematoma on its elbow and others had scratch marks after the break-in.
It emerged in court that Casford entered the zoo through an unsecured gate, before heading to the squirrel monkey enclosure where the animals were asleep in the corner.
It is then that he broke the padlocks to get in; he stated in court that he broke his leg as he climbed the boundary fence.
While it is not known exactly what happened inside the enclosure, it is believed that the 23-year-old attempted to grab the monkeys, which led to them attacking him. His injuries, including a sprained ankle and bruises on his back, elude to this.
The judge addressed Casford in court:
Your intention was to capture one and bring it home to your girlfriend. Your attempt was not successful.
I don’t know what happened in the squirrel monkey enclosure. The squirrel monkeys know. You say you couldn’t find them and I don’t speak squirrel.
What I know is that by daybreak all the monkeys were distressed, two of them were injured, and you had a broken leg, two fractured teeth, a sprained ankle, and bruises on your back.
Casford was also sentenced for unrelated violent offending over the summer, to which he pleaded guilty to a number of incidents.
These include an unprovoked assault on a man sitting in his car at traffic lights, as well as an assault on a night shelter resident who refused to hand over cigarettes.
The judge sentenced him to two years and seven months in prison.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).