As many as 250 animals across the UK may have been murdered by a serial cat killer who has terrified south London for two years.
The so-called ‘Croydon cat killer’ is now also thought to have attacked squirrels, rabbits and foxes as far away as Birmingham, Manchester and Merseyside.
Profilers working for the NCA – Britain’s equivalent of the FBI – said the killer might be acting out ‘dark and deviant sexual fantasies’.
Bertie, 12, was one of the Croydon Cat Killer’s victims. His headless body was found in Surrey
Pippa Gregory, NCA profiling expert, said: ‘[This is] not your average animal abuse, you get plenty of animal abuse…it is the post mortem mutilation and the need to deposit [the bodies] that is particularly interesting.
‘We don’t know many of these individuals, because they are often not found, those that we do know about have been found to have really quite dark and deviant sexual fantasies.
Ukiyo’s eviscerated body turned up on the doorstep of a nearby house in December 2015
‘That is not to say they are doing this to make up for sexual fantasies but it certainly seems that they are getting gratification from the offenses and the mutilation of cats.
Scotland Yard has now deployed ten officers and enlisted the help of the NCA to help track down the killer, the Times reported.
Detective Sergeant Andy Collin said it was ‘without doubt, the strangest case’ he had dealt with.
Animal Charity South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty have also joined forces with police to help track down the killer.
It is now believed that the cat killer may be responsible for as many as 250 animal deaths
Tony Jenkins, from the charity, said: ‘We are now looking at around 250 killings. It’s not just cats. He’s been targeting foxes and rabbits and, most recently, a squirrel.
CAT KILLER KEY MOMENTS…
2013: The RSCPA say they are aware of attacks stretching back this far but the killings did not ramp up until two years later
September to December 2015: Croydon Cat Ripper name first used when a number of cat murders were reported in the south London borough of Croydon. At least seven cats were found mutilated in the area
April 2016: More bodies were discovered across North and South London
February 2016: Animals rights charity PETA offered a £5,000 reward to anyone who had information that could lead to the arrest of the killer
August 2016: Five more cats were found chopped up around the M25 area
January 2017: Two more cats had been killed with within 2 hours of each other
‘There was a very signature injury that we saw on the squirrel which, suggests this is not a copycat.’
The Metropolitan Police began investigating the killings in November 2015, under the name Operation Takahe.
The probe began after headless cats were found in Croydon, Streatham, Mitcham Common, Sutton, Charlton, Peckham and Finchley.
A vet found raw chicken in the stomachs of a number of the cats, suggesting the killer was luring them to their deaths with meat tidbits.
The RSPCA believes they were killed by blunt trauma, possibly from a moving vehicle but SNARL said some may have been thrown against a wall.
It’s thought the killer cuts off the heads and tails to retain as grisly ‘trophies’.
Other deaths have been reported in Maidstone and Sevenoaks, and Doc Martin actor Martin Clunes used social media begging people to help catch the killer.