Uber driver who stole £3,000 pet macaw from Richmond Park avoids jail

Uber driver, 44, who stole £3,000 pet macaw from Richmond Park then released it into the wild before it was ‘killed by a fox’ avoids jail

  • Sattar Abdul, 44, attracted Sura into his car and made off from the London park
  • He released the bird the following day after realising he couldn’t care for it
  • He received a suspended sentence, 200 hours of unpaid work and a £2,000 bill

An Uber driver who stole a £3,000 pet parrot from a park, then released it into the wild before it was reportedly killed by a fox, has avoided jail.

Sattar Abdul, 44, attracted Sura the macaw into his car and made an unsuccessful bid to also grab another bird before making off from Richmond Park, south west London.

He then drove the exotic animal around 25 miles to his home in Chadwell Heath, east London, before returning to the park the next day to release the parrot when he realised could not care for it properly.

Sura was then said to have been mauled by a fox and died, police said.

Sattar Abdul, 44, stole a £3,000 pet parrot (pictured) from a park, then released it into the wild before it was reportedly killed by a fox

After Abdul coaxed the macaw into his Toyota with a peanut bar, eye-witnesses saw the trapped bird in a clearly distressed state, ‘squawking and biting the steering wheel’.

Abdul claimed the bird deliberately flew into his vehicle and was already ill so he tried to look after it.

But this claim was rejected and he was charged with theft, then handed a suspended prison sentence.

The theft at around 8pm on June 20 last year triggered a massive hunt on social media and a ‘Justice for Sura’ campaign with residents across Richmond and beyond looking for the bird, that was well-known in the area.

Such was the outcry that the panicking Abdul, who had no idea how to feed or look after the parrot, drove back across London with Sura in the boot of his Toyota Prius.

He then dumped her by the side of the road where it is assumed she was attacked and killed by a fox.

A woman involved in the hunt, who knew the owner, Kareem Alipoor, found piles of bloodied feathers near Sheen Gate, where Sura first went missing.

During police interviews, the thief bizarrely said Sura deliberately chose to fly into his car – a claim rejected by the court.

A video released by Royal Parks Police on Twitter showed the animal inside the vehicle – appearing to be in distress.

It is believed the pair of parrots were being free-flown in the area by their owner at the time of the theft.

At Wimbledon Magistrates Court, Abdul was given a four-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, after being found guilty of one count of theft.

He was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work plus pay £2,000 compensation.

A victim impact statement by Mr Alipoor was read to the court that revealed how the theft left him devastated.

He blamed himself for the theft and death of what he called his ‘soul mate’, adding: ‘I am a changed person – I hate myself – the guilt is massive.’

Mr Alipoor said he has since suffered severe depression, which meant he found it difficult to work and deal with people.

District Judge Peter Hayes said, as he passed sentence: ‘From the witness evidence it would appear he [Sattar Abdul] was at least attempting to obtain the second bird. It makes it less believable the first bird randomly flew into his car.’

Abdul, 44, attracted Sura the macaw into his car and made an unsuccessful bid to also grab another bird before making off from Richmond Park (pictured), south west London

Addressing the defendant, he said: ‘You stole a bird – Sura – from Mr Alipoor and it is clear from his personal statement that both of the birds meant a very great deal to him.

‘You stated that Sura flew into your car and you thought the bird was unwell. Frankly I don’t believe you.

‘I do accept that you did not take Sura because of her value. I suspect in reality you took the bird because you were interested in keeping the bird yourself.

‘When you took Sura home you struggled to feed the bird and your daughter made clear she was not happy you had taken it.

‘You then took the bird back and released it into the open. It is highly likely Sura has died as a result of being released.’

At the time of Sura’s theft there was a massive outpouring of sympathy for the owner and anger from people who had often seen the owner free-flying the two parrots in Richmond Park.

Prosecutor Aarya Mishra told the court how eye-witnesses saw Abdul attract Sura into his car, apparently using a peanut bar.

David Rishter, defending, said the defendant maintained the parrot chose to fly into his car and did not accept allegations he had tried to lure the second macaw.

He said Abdul had no knowledge of the bird and it was ‘merely a case of curiosity’.

But Mr Rishter said his client accepted he had made ‘a terrible mistake’ and ‘he is very sorry for what he did’.

The solicitor said Abdul returned the bird the following day, adding: ‘It appears it did not end well for the bird.’

PC Riggs, investigating officer said after the sentencing hearing: ‘We are pleased with the conviction, but our thoughts are with Sura’s owner who has lost an irreplaceable friend.’

A spokesman for the force added: ‘The macaw, named Sura, was taken back to Mr Abdul’s home whilst the owner was looking for her.

‘The following day, Mr Abdul, unable to care for Sura, returned her to Richmond Park. It is believed she was killed by a fox.’

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