Solicitor Rowan King (front) with Luke Stephen Orchard as they leave Rockhampton Court.
Solicitor Rowan King (front) with Luke Stephen Orchard as they leave Rockhampton Court. Chris Ison ROK160218ccroc1

REVEALED: Why I killed Rocky's giant crocodile

THE man who killed a crocodile in the Fitzroy River, believed to have been born World War I and to have survived extensive hunting over the years, has received a hefty fine.

Luke Stephen Orchard, 31, pleaded guilty in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court to one count of unlawfully taking a protected animal.

Police prosecutor Jess King said the Belmont Research Station farmhand made admissions to police about the shooting of the 5.26 metre male crocodile on the banks of the Fitzroy River on September 13, 2017.

Read: Why the killed 'apex' crocodile was so significant

 

Police have released this image of the 5.2m crocodile shot in the head in the Fitzroy River.
Police have released this image of the 5.2m crocodile shot in the head in the Fitzroy River.

The maximum penalty for the unlawful take of an 'iconic' crocodile is $28,383.75.

Ms King said the crocodile, determined by experts to have been between 80-100 years old, had been shot in the head between the eyes.

She said fragments of the bullet retrieved from the crocodile indicated it had been shot with a 33 Winchester Marlin brand rifle.

The court heard Orchard was checking on cattle at the Etna Creek property while on a quad bike and spotted the crocodile resting on the bank.

 

Luke Orchard leaves Rockhampton court - Crocodile shooter
Luke Orchard leaves Rockhampton court - Crocodile shooter Chris Ison ROK160218ccroc2

"I shot the crocodile," Orchard said in his interview with police.

"It was taking calves and I was getting sick of it, so I got rid of it."

 

Images of a 5.2m crocodile found shot in the Fitzroy River, Rockhampton on Thursday, September 21. Police and the EHP are appealing for public assistance in their investigations to find the culprit.
Images of a 5.2m crocodile found shot in the Fitzroy River, Rockhampton on Thursday, September 21. Police and the EHP are appealing for public assistance in their investigations to find the culprit. Department of Environment and He

The court heard Orchard shot at it once on the first occasion and watched as the beast rolled into the water, thinking he had killed it.

However, when he returned hours later, the protected animal was back with its head resting on the bank.

Orchard threw a stick at the crocodile which moved in reaction to being hit, so Orchard used a more high-powered bullet and shot the crocodile again. This time, Orchard was about 1.2 metres away and shot the crocodile in the head, in between the eyes.

He took a photograph of the crocodile and sent it to his wife in an SMS which he also wrote that when the crocodile moved, he 'shit himself'.

Magistrate Jeff Clarke ordered Orchard to pay a $10,000 fine.

Other cases:

In January 2012, four men pulled a large crocodile to the surface by a piece of wire after it ate a bait at the end. One man took video of the incident which led to the 3m protected animal being shot multiple times. Duncan Alexander Kerr, Giuseppe Lago, Jamie Levitt and Chris Matthew Vass pleaded guilty in the Townsville Magistrates Court in April 2014 to taking a protected animal. Each received a $7000 fine. Read more here: Four men fined $7000 each for killing 3m croc

An Ipswich man killed a saltwater crocodile near Townsville and keep it's head as evidence in his freezer. Trent Alan Theuerkauf pleaded guilty in the Ipswich Magistrates Court in April 2014 to decapitating and skinning a two-and-a-half metre saltwater crocodile at Bushland Beach, north of Townsville. He received a $7000. Read more here: Croc head in freezer: Hunter fined a cool $7000



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