A BARRISTER who bought a historic Sussex windmill claims he killed a fox with a baseball bat on Boxing Day.

The RSPCA is looking into claims made by prominent lawyer Jolyon Maugham.

Mr Maugham and his wife Claire bought the Grade II listed Jack windmill at Clayton for £1.1 million in 2012.

Mr Maugham, founder of the Good Law Project, said on Twitter on Thursday morning: “Already this morning I have killed a fox with a baseball bat. How’s your Boxing Day going?”

He added he was in his wife’s satin kimono when he set upon the fox and killed it.

An RSPCA spokeswoman said: “We’ve been made aware of this and are looking into it.”

The RSPCA said on Twitter that the incident was “distressing”, after Twitter users tagged the animal welfare organisation in Mr Maugham’s post.

Mr Maugham claimed the fox had “got caught up in the protective netting around the chickens” and he “wasn’t sure what else to do”.

Government guidelines state that if a fox is caught in a trap or snare on a person’s property, they must “humanely kill any fox you catch while it’s in the trap or snare”.

Gassing or poisoning foxes is prohibited.

Mr Maugham later apologised on Twitter to anyone who had been “upset” by the tweet.

He said: “Sorry to those upset by my tweet. My chickens were very distressed by the fox, both before and after I’d despatched it, and I wanted it out of the way quickly.

“I was slightly shocked by the whole tooth-and-claw experience when I tweeted and that was what I was trying to convey.

“But my tweet, one of a number about keeping chickens in urban London, should have conveyed that better.”

He added: “What’s especially unfortunate is that I’ve already started to investigate the enormous harm done by factory farming, with a view to acting in that space in 2020.

“It would be a pity if my misguided tweets inhibited that. I’ll try to do better.”

But many Twitter users and animal rights activists have rushed to condemn the claim.

One said: “Leaving aside the hideous cruelty of your actions, how odd that you should then decide you needed to boast about it on Twitter. Cruelty and narcissism.”

Another said: “How do you get blood out of silk? Asking for a friend.”