A student who fried a hamster while drunk has been ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid work in the community.
:: WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT BELOW
James White, 21, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the female Syrian hamster after a court accepted it could not be established whether the animal was alive when it went into the pan.
District Judge Roy Anderson told White he was sentencing him on the basis the rodent died minutes before, when the defendant was handling it.
Selby Magistrates' Court heard White had drunk so much in his flat in York he was "on the point of madness" and could not remember what happened.
The judge said it was clear the hamster did not die from natural causes.
White, who is studying international relations and politics at York University, changed his plea to guilty on Thursday, on the basis that his rough handling of the animal killed it before he put it in the pan.
District Judge Anderson said: "By virtue of your treatment of this small, unfortunate rodent you've destroyed your good character and acquired a criminal conviction.
"It's accepted now that there was rough handling of that animal but that it couldn't be established that it was putting it in the frying pan and applying heat that caused its death.
"Had that sadistic conduct been established I would be dealing with you in a far more serious way than I am."
White was also banned from keeping animals for eight years and ordered to pay £1,000 costs.
Phil Brown, prosecuting, told the court police were called to a block of flats on February 2.
When officers arrived they found White extremely drunk and there was a "strong and pungent smell" and a "frying pan next to the hob with a hamster in it".
According to the prosecutor, White told the officer: "What, I f****** fried it? I fried it."
The court heard the hamster, which belonged to White's flatmate, died from heart failure.
Kevin Blount, defending, said the hamster's death was the result of "drunken foolishness" and there was "no deliberate intent".
RSPCA Inspector Claire Mitchell said: "I don't know why anyone would think of doing that when drunk."