A ‘HEARTLESS’ man laughed at he killed his ex-girlfriend’s tropical fish by pouring fabric conditioner into their tank.

Benjamin Avill went into a ‘fit of rage’ when Jenny Daniels told him their 12-year relationship was over on May 8.

He grabbed a nearby bottle of Comfort fabric conditioner and emptied it into the large tank that contained 50 fish.

Yesterday, a court heard 36-year-old Avill “laughed” as the fish were poisoned.

All but one of them died. The sole survivor, a bristlenose pleco fish called Bob, now lives with Miss Daniels.

Miss Daniels, from Bournemouth, reported her ex to the RSPCA.

Avill, a carpenter, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal when he appeared at Poole Magistrates’ Court.

He was handed a 14-week prison term, suspended for 12 months. He was also banned from owning animals for ten years.

Matthew Knight, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said: “In the eyes of the general public, if he had done this to 49 dogs the outcry would be significant.

“However, the act does not differentiate between protected animals.”

Mr Knight said the fish would have suffered greatly as they were poisoned

“The fish were jointly owned by the defendant and Ms Daniels,” he said.

“They were arguing and in a fit of rage he poured a three-litre bottle into the tank.

“An expert has since said they would have died an acute and unnecessary death.

“Fish can and do suffer and the defendant has shown very little remorse for his actions which caused the death of a lot of fish.”

Leah Dillon, mitigating, said: “The relationship between Miss Daniels and the defendant was volatile.

“This incident was the culmination of several years of tough times.

“He describes himself as like a bottle of champagne which his partner was shaking and waiting for the cork to pop.

“He says it was completely out of character for him and he has shown genuine remorse.”

As well as being banned from owning animals, Avill was also ordered to pay costs of £400, undertake 200 hours of unpaid work and attend 20 days of an activity. A spokesperson from the RSPCA labelled Avill “heartless”.