An autistic man killed his three pet rabbits and took one of them to bed with him earlier this year in Saltburn, England.

Callum Matthew Thomas Taylor, 26, received a two-year community order for inflicting fatal injuries on three rabbits between April and March. In one instance he took the dead animal, which had multiple injuries, into his bed and slept with it. He then disposed of it.

Prosecutor John Ellwood said Taylor caused "serious injuries" to another rabbit called Mischief on 18 April. The animal suffered extensive bruising around the mouth and nose, and fractures to the body, collar bone and at least three ribs.

The court heard that "substantial force" would have been needed to cause the injuries. Taylor admitted to dropping the rabbit on concrete multiple times. Another rabbit was found to have smashed teeth and fractures when examined by a vet.

Autistic Taylor was described as a "danger to animals" by the RSPCA. Sarah Lish, defending, said Taylor was "doing everything that he can" to help his condition. She said: "He had these animals because he lived alone and was lonely."

Taylor, of Exeter Street, Saltburn, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal. Sentencing Taylor, District Judge Helen Cousins said: "You know that these are serious offences. You will be disqualified from keeping animals for life and you can't appeal for 10 years for that order to be changed," according to the Newcastle Gazette.

The news comes shortly after a Belfast man was found guilty of killing, skinning and cooking his pet dog before feeding it to another. The RSPCA receive calls relating to animal cruelty every 30 seconds.