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Who is the Croydon Cat Killer?


Mystery attacker is believed to have slaughtered around 450 cats

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Decapitated corpse found in Southampton linked to killings of hundreds of animals across England

In Depth
Wednesday, June 13, 2018 - 3:16pm

A cat found decapitated in Southampton appears to be the latest victim of an attacker dubbed the Croydon Cat Killer, according to an animal rescue centre investigating the killings.

South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty (Snarl) believes a single person is behind the deaths of hundreds of cats, as well as foxes and rabbits. Mutilated animal corpses have been found in locations as far afield as Manchester, Brighton and the Isle of Wight.

“The majority of them are decapitations of heads, tails and paws - a few of them have been cut in half,” Snarl’s Tony Jenkins told the BBC.

“Typically, there is no blood on the scene, so they are either killed somewhere else and then brought to the scene, or they are killed quickly with blunt force trauma and mutilated afterwards, which we have seen in many cases.”

In August last year, police released a description of an individual they believe to be behind the killings. According to witnesses, the suspect is “a white man in his 40s with short brown hair, dressed in dark clothing, possibly with acne scarring to his face. It also says he may be wearing a headlamp or carrying a torch,” reported The Guardian.

Last month Vice TV released a documentary, To Catch a Cat Killer, that followed the investigation by Snarl founder Jenkins and his partner Boudicca Rising, working alongside the police.

What is the history of the Croydon Cat Killer?

In December 2015, the Metropolitan Police launched an investgation under the name Operation Takahe, led by Detective Andy Collin, after Snarl raised concerns about a series of dead cats found without heads and tails.

By February 2016, the deaths of ten cats (four in Croydon and one each in Streatham, Mitcham Common, Sutton, Charlton, Peckham and Finchley) had been linked by an examining vet, according to a report in The Independent.

Snarl now believes that the killings go back as far as 2010. Rising told the London Evening Standard that his Croydon-based rescue centre had been approached by families about killings up to three years before they began investigating.

As more decapitated cats began appearing outside the town, the killer became known as the M25 Cat Killer and then, as the attacks spread further, the UK Cat Killer.

Is more than one person behind the attacks?

The Vice team spoke to veterinarian Dean Lewis, who believes that more than one person is responsible for the dead cats.

He said in the documentary: “All the animals have died of blunt force trauma. Most of the animals have been decapitated and most of them have had amputations.

“However, the nature of how they have been carried out has fluctuated wildly. With the tail amputations, some of it has been done very skillfully. Others been crushed and cut quite crudely. I do not believe you can attribute every single cat that has been presented to me and all the other vets to one person.”

However, Rising told the Croydon News Shopper that she believes a single person is responsible.

She acknowledged the vet’s statement that some amputations fluctuated but argued that “there will be a big difference in doing something by torch light and something by electric light”.

She added: “We keep an open mind. Investigation is as much about disproving your own theories as it is about anything else.”

Is it just animals?

So far no links have been found between the killings and any attacks on humans.

But Detective Collin told the BBC: “Cats are targeted because they are associated with the feminine. The killer can’t deal with a woman or women who are troubling him.”

Collin said he was worried that “at some stage [the killer] will escalate or feel brave enough to move on to vulnerable women and girls”.

Vince Egan, associate professor of forensic psychology at Nottingham University, told The Independent: “In some individuals, we have seen animal cruelty as part of a broader pattern in which humans are also harmed. It is far more likely that this reflects a rather more banal pattern of anti-social behaviour, such as drunkenness or something that doesn’t go further. But when we have so little to go on, you have to keep your mind open.”

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