The Croydon Cat Killer is now linked to the deaths of over 400 pets since 2015, a much higher figure than previously reported, the Metropolitan Police have confirmed amid fears he will go on to target women.
Police have now attributed five more recent cases to the killer, occurring in Northampton between August and November 2017. All bodies were “deliberately mutilated” and left on doorsteps or the roofs of nearby cars for their owners to find.
Croydon-based animal charity South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty (SNARL) are leading the investigation in conjunction with the police. They told East London Lines: “The offender is highly mobile, operates at night when people are asleep, stays away from CCTV and is forensically aware. He probably preys on cats because they are pets with a lot of freedom and therefore more vulnerable.”
“Whilst most attacks have happened at night, a handful have happened during the day. The best way to keep your pets safe is to bring them indoors. We recognise it’s not easy, but to cut risk people should bring their pets in at night at the very least.”
The first cat was found in a Croydon alleyway in 2015 and there were a number of other attacks in and around the Croydon area. Although many victims have been discovered across the country, the majority are found within the borough, often decapitated with their ears and tails removed. Sometimes their organs are removed.
Detective Sergeant Andy Collin said: “There is a known link between serial killers and harming animals. If you look at offending patterns, the assumption is this killer is getting some form of gratification. The concern is they will cease getting that and escalate the attacks to humans, specifically vulnerable women and girls.”
Not only cats but rabbits, foxes, and a baby owl have been officially attributed to the killer. SNARL told East London Lines: “The only pattern is that he chooses well looked after and pretty animals. Even the foxes are in good condition.”
DS Collin has previously said he believes that the killer has strong links to Addiscombe, with a large number of attacks happening in the area. However, it is thought he travels for work, which may account for the geographical spread.
Retired Metropolitan Police detective Mick Neville told The Sun: “There is someone behind one of the doors of these suburban terraced streets hiding a wicked secret. This area seems to be the epicentre of his operations. It is where he began and where he still feels at home.
“The fact he has struck on a Sunday night in the Croydon area also indicates he is local and probably on a day off. Jack the Ripper struck at weekends and bank holidays. These roads are quiet, there is very little traffic and no CCTV. It is perfect. I believe he has been observing and planning his killings from one of the houses in this area.”
Police launched Operation Takahe in 2015 to investigate the mutilation of domestic animals after several incidents were found to have used the same weapon.
SNARL previously released a description of the man believed to be the Cat Killer. He is described as white, in his 40s, dark-haired, and believed to be between 5ft 8 and 5ft 11. He is thought to have facial acne scarring and was seen in dark clothing with a torch. Pets are allegedly attracted with food and toys.
A £10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction.