Beachgoers say they had no choice but to watch in horror as a man brutally beat an injured seagull to death with a child’s spade on a packed beach.
A family were seen throwing cans of fizzy drink towards the legally protected bird at Porthgwidden Beach in St Ives, Cornwall, southwest England, on Saturday, a witness told CornwellLive.
One member of the group then attacked the bird that was injured by a can, hitting it with a children’s shovel until it died, according to the onlooker.
The witness said she and one other person approached the man but they were “verbally abused” so left them alone.
Police were reportedly called to the scene after the incident, which unfolded about 5.30pm, but the group had already left.
The witness said the traumatic event took place “in front of all of our children and a whole beach full of families”.
She said after confronting the group “to state how disgusted we were with their behaviour” she was “verbally abused by them”.
“It was absolutely awful. In my whole life I have never witnessed that kind of violence against an animal,” she said.
A photo showed the group left behind a mess of rubbish and towels.
One man not connected to the violent group scooped up the seagull and moved it away from public view.
Police have yet to confirm if the incident is being investigated.