A ROYAL Marine who bit the head off a pigeon during a drunken prank was caught after police traced his DNA from the bird's dead body.
Commando Adam Karmali, 33, sunk his teeth into the street pigeon after an all-day drinking session with friends.
A court heard he was traced when police did forensic tests on the headless pigeon's body - and his DNA was discovered on teethmarks on the bird.
Karmali was drinking with friends when he caught the pigeon in the street and posed for pictures with the live bird's head in his mouth.
But the court was told he then bit it off and spat it out. A woman passer-by was so horrified she phoned police who arrived to find the headless pigeon left at the scene.
A court heard police carried out forensic tests on the bird to discovered Karmali's DNA on the teeth marks around the neck.
Prosecutor Mike Curry said: "This was a sickening offence carried out while drunk.
"Karmali captured a pigeon and put it in his mouth and as the group took pictures he bit its head off.
"A witness was so appalled police were contacted, the remains were recovered and a DNA match was discovered which led him to being arrested."
Karmali told police he had drunk around 20 cans of lager during a day out with friends in a park in Cardiff and thought it was a "prank" at the time.
Monique McKevitt, defending, said biting the head off a pigeon was "clearly an unnacceptable and repulsive act".
She told Cardiff magistrates that Karmali was "ashamed" of the drunken prank.
She said the Royal Marine Commando faced being expelled from the forces if he was given a prison sentence for the crime.
Miss McKevitt said: "There will be internal disciplinary procedures not only for the act itself but for bringing the Royal Marines reputation into disrepute.
"He would never normally behave that way and he feels extreme remorse and shame."
Karmali, of Wimborne, Dorset, admitted a charge of "not taking all reasonable steps to ensure the needs of an animal he was responsible for were met".
Magistrates' panel chairman Robert Cozens told Karmali that biting the head off a pigeon was punishable by prison.
But he spared the Commando jail because it would end his career.
Mr Cozens told him: "We have taken great consideration over this and we consider the serious and pretty awful offence as having passed the custody threshold.
"However, we have heard from your Captain you have a good military record and that this is out of character.
"Because of your early guilty plea and the remorse you have shown we have brought your sentence down a level."
Karmali was given a 12 month community order and must complete 150 hours unpaid work.