West Ham defender Kurt Zouma pleads guilty to kicking and slapping cat

Kurt Zouma

Premier League footballer Kurt Zouma has admitted kicking and slapping his pet cat.

The West Ham United defender pleaded guilty to two counts under the Animal Welfare Act when he appeared at Thames Magistrates’ Court in east London on Tuesday morning.

Zouma, 27, was forced to apologise after harrowing footage was filmed and shared by his younger brother Yoan, 24, who admitted one offence during the hearing.

Hammers defender Zouma arrived at court in chaotic fashion, accompanied by several security guards who emerged from a vehicle holding umbrellas to form a protective shield around the defendant.

West Ham defender Kurt Zouma hides his face as he arrives at Thames Magistrates' Court on Tuesday morning

The brothers’ addresses have been withheld following a court order.

The court was told about disturbing footage of the incident, filmed at Zouma’s home and posted on Snapchat by his brother on February 6.

It was later seen by a woman who had been messaging Yoan Zouma, who raised the alarm.

Kurt Zouma could be seen volleying the Bengal cat across his kitchen, before throwing a pair of shoes at it and slapping its head.

Prosecutor Hazel Stevens told the court Kurt Zouma could be heard saying: “I swear I’ll kill it, I swear I’ll kill it.”

He admitted two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal on February 6.

Yoan Zouma admitted one count of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring his older brother to commit an offence.

Yoan Zouma, the brother of West Ham defender Kurt Zouma, arrives at Thames Magistrates' Court on Tuesday morning

Prosecutor Ms Stevens said the 40-second clip appeared to be carried out after the cats were deemed responsible for damaging a chair in the home.

She said: “Kurt Zouma is determined to chastise or carry out some sort of retribution for the damage caused.”

The Premier League star could be seen volleying the Bengal cat across his kitchen, before throwing a pair of shoes at it and slapping its head.

The clip contained laughing, and featured laughing emojis.

Prosecutor Hazel Stevens told the court Kurt Zouma could be heard saying: “I swear I’ll kill it, I swear I’ll kill it.”

She said the young woman who first saw the footage was so appalled that she cancelled a date with Yoan Zouma, saying: “I don’t think hitting a cat like that is OK – don’t bother coming today.”

Yoan Zouma admitted one count of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring his older brother to commit an offence.

The pair were released on bail ahead of their sentencing at the same court next week.

Ms Stevens added: “Since this footage was put in public domain there has been a spate of people hitting cats and posting it on various social media sites.

“Their behaviour falls short of what is expected of a high-profile image.”

The court heard the Premier League defender has since agreed for his two Bengal male cats to be rehomed.

It was not possible to state whether it was the same cat in each section of footage, but experts said whichever animal had been struck would have likely suffered soft tissue damage to the head, as well as mental and physical suffering.

West Ham fined their player £250,000 in relation to the incident and made donations to nine animal welfare charities in the UK and overseas.

Defending the West Ham player, Trevor Burke QC said his client had also lost a “substantial” sponsorship deal with Adidas.

He had also not been picked for the French national team, he said.

Mr Burke said: “A Google search will always reveal the guilty plea and the video.”

The court heard seven people are to be prosecuted by police over the Zouma abuse, however, the police subsequently denied this, saying they received an allegation of malicious communications and that enquiries are ongoing.

District Judge Susan Holdham adjourned proceedings until the sentencing hearing on June 1.

Two further charges against the men were dismissed.


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