A JOINER shot a deer because his sister wanted some venison for a New Year’s Eve party, a court heard.

Thomas Knipe, 22, of Church Road, Allithwaite, pleaded guilty at South Lakeland Magistrates’ Court to poaching a deer and possessing a firearm in a public place.

The court heard that Knipe was at Canny Hill, Newby Bridge, on December 22 when he shot and killed the roe deer at around 9.45pm.

John Appleby, prosecuting, said Knipe spotted a deer crossing a road, took his rifle out of the car, loaded it and shoot the animal.

He left the deer at the roadside to bleed before returning to gut it and take it away.


A witness heard the shot from his front room and left his house to investigate.

He saw the fresh carcass at the side of the road and contacted the police on his mobile phone when he saw Knipe’s vehicle drive past.

Jackie Partington, in mitigation, said Knipe was travelling to Force Forge with a friend to shoot foxes when the incident took place. They had turned back after realising they did not have the required lamp when the deer ‘jumped out into the road in front of them’.

Knipe knew his sister wanted venison for a New Year’s Eve party and had been to look for deer in the morning but had not been successful.

She said that Knipe, who is from a farming family and held a firearms licence, just saw the opportunity and took it.

She added: “He knew it wasn’t allowed and as soon as he’d done it knew it was wrong.”

The court heard that after seeing the witness’s car parked on the road Knipe contacted the police himself and attended for questioning voluntarily.

Chair of the bench Mary Blanchard said that because of the seriousness of carrying the firearm, using it and having ammunitition, the case would have to be committed to Carlisle Crown Court for sentencing on June 20.