Australian kangaroo killer avoids jail

The dead kangaroos, including two joeys, were found littered over roads in the far south-east of the country in September

An Australian man who deliberately mowed down at least 20 kangaroos with a truck avoided jail on Tuesday after pleading guilty to animal cruelty, local media reported.

The dead animals, including two joeys, were found littered over roads in the far south-east of the country in September.

Bega District News reported that Nathan Sanger, 20, appeared in a local court Tuesday where he admitted his role in the killing spree, which lasted an hour and sparked widespread outrage.

The court heard Sanger had caused "a lot of suffering to a large number of defenceless animals" in an act of "gratuitous cruelty".

Sanger was facing up to five years' jail for torturing or beating and causing the death of an animal, but the first-time offender was ordered to complete 500 hours of community service.

He had already begun volunteering at a sanctuary for native Australian animals in an attempt to make amends, according to the newspaper.

A second man who police allege was in the car at the time of the incident pleaded not guilty. His case will return to court in January.