Charlton fan tried to punch Crystal Palace eagle mascot, court hears

Kayla the eagle was allegedly targeted when violence broke out between Charlton and Crystal Palace fans. Credit: PA

A Charlton Athletic supporter attempted to punch Crystal Palace's eagle mascot during a fractious League Cup tie, a court has heard.

Daniel Boylett, a Charlton fan from Eltham, allegedly targeted Kayla, the 25-year-old bird of prey, when rival supporters clashed during the match at Selhurst Park in September 2015. He denies a charge of attempted criminal damage.

Kayla was perched on the forearm of handler Chris Belsey as he walked around the Selhurst Park pitch when the alleged incident occurred.

"As he passed the stand he noticed three or four fans were shouting abuse and one of these three or four lent over the barrier and threw a punch directed at Kayla," prosecutor Daniel Higgins told Croydon Crown Court.

"Mr Belsey is unsure if the punch directed at the eagle had landed.

"He pulled Kayla away slightly to keep her from any further attack and then walked away."

Kayla, who has been Crystal Palace's live mascot since 2010 and has also appeared on a Kings of Leon album cover, emerged unscathed.

Four other supporters - Colin Kitto, 49, of Eltham, Andy McConville, 48, of Rochester, Kent, Billy Cowcher, 32, of Greenwich, and Sam Donegan, 25, of Welling - all face charges of violent disorder, which they deny.