‘Croydon cat killer’ linked to hundreds of deaths as five more animals discovered decapitated.
The intention is to shock and horrify. The method involves a knife wielded with forensic precision. The victims are much-loved family pets. The so-called Cat Killer of Croydon – named because the first cases were carried out in the south London district – is believed to have struck more than 400 times during the past two years.
In the past month the killings have escalated in frequency and have been committed almost daily.
Foxes have been targeted as well as pet rabbits snatched from back gardens but the majority of the victims are cats – lured with food before being bludgeoned to death, decapitated and dissected.
The remains of the animals are then displayed in a ritualised way that appears designed to cause maximum trauma for their devastated owners.
And the killer appears to be extending his range.
Similar cat murders have been identified across London and Surrey and as far away as Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham and the Isle of Wight.
Many of the decapitations have appeared “surgical” in their precision and cats have been butchered in similar ways around the country.
While this is horrifying enough, the fact the feline killing spree accelerated last month has left police concerned that the murderer – whom they believe to be a psychopath – could soon grow bored of torturing animals and begin to focus instead on women and girls.
If the animal deaths are indeed the work of one person there is concern that the threat to humans is increasing with every feline murder committed.
Scotland Yard has been running Operation Takahe for two years, working closely with the RSPCA and South Norwood Animal Rescue Liberty (SNARL), an animal rescue organisation.
So far there have been no arrests.
“There is a known link between serial killers and harming animals when you look into their dark history,” says Detective Sergeant Andy Collin, who is leading the investigation.
“If you look at offending patterns the assumption is this killer is getting some form of gratification. The concern is [he] will cease getting that gratification and escalate the attacks to humans, specifically vulnerable women and girls.”
A £10,000 reward has been offered for information that leads to the arrest of the killer.
The Operation Takahe team can be contacted on 020 8649 0216 or call SNARL on 07961 030064.