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7 March 2013, 14:04
A 21 year old politics student from York has been sentenced for cooking his flatmate's hamster in a frying pan.
James White admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the female Syrian hamster but the court accepted it could not be proved if the animal was alive when it went into the pan.
District Judge Roy Anderson told White he was sentencing him on the basis the rodent died minutes before, when the defendant was handling it.
Selby Magistrates' Court heard White was so drunk he was "on the point of madness" and could not remember what happened.
District Judge Anderson said it was clear the hamster did not die of natural causes and there was a degree of mystery about the incident.
White was supposed to go on trial but changed his plea when the judge said he would be guilty even if the animal was dead before it was cooked.
White changed his plea to guilty on the basis that his rough handling of the animal killed it before he put it in the pan.
District Judge Anderson told him: "What happened on that night is still shrouded in mystery.
"It's accepted now that there was rough handling of that animal but that it couldn't be established that it was putting it in the frying pan and applying heat that caused its death.
"Had that sadistic conduct been established I would be dealing with you in a far more serious way than I am.''
White was sentenced to 120 hours of unpaid work, banned from keeping animals for eight years and ordered to pay £1,000 towards the costs of the case.