Is the Croydon Cat Killer still at large?


Cats, rabbits and foxes are victims of the Croydon Cat Killer. Pic: Millicent Jones*

Fears are growing that despite police insistence no-one is responsible for cat deaths in and around Croydon, there could after all be human involvement. The claim comes from vets and pet owners, worried that animal mutilations around the M25 are continuing, even after the police investigation was shut down. A South London animal rescue says it’s getting up to five reports a week.

Cats, rabbits and foxes are ongoing targets of dismembering and mutilation, which some animal protection officials estimate have been going on for 20 years.

The Met police launched an official investigation into the so-called Croydon Cat Killer in 2015, but found no evidence to prove that there was a human suspect, or suspects behind the killings.

They concluded their investigation in September, saying: “Hundreds of reported cat mutilations in Croydon and elsewhere were not carried out by a human and are likely to be the result of predation or scavenging by wildlife on cats killed in vehicle collisions.”

There were no witnesses, no identifiable patterns and no forensic leads that pointed to human involvement.”

But some vets who have examined animal mutilations say that it is the careful removal of body parts which implies a human hand.

Streatham Hill Vets posted on their Facebook page just after the investigation: “We have had several of these bodies brought into us. They have all consisted of clean, surgical type amputations or beheadings.

“It is exceptionally rare for a fox to attack a cat and they should not be used as scapegoats for these horrific crimes.”

South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty (SNARL) was set up in 2014 to protect and rehome abused or ill-treated animals.

The organisation has worked closely with vets and police to help investigate instances of animal mutilations.

Co-founder Tony Jenkins estimates that there have been about 500 animal deaths since the Met’s decision to close the case.

“The only comfort that owners will get is when this person is caught.”

He says that the conclusion of the investigation is insulting to those who have lost pets: “To come out and suggest that it’s foxes has upset an awful lot of people.

“The only comfort that owners will get is when this person is caught.”

His fellow co-founder Boudicca Rising acknowledges that foxes are partly responsible for some of the deaths. But cases where the head has been cleanly removed from the body, she says, implies the use of a blade.

She also believes there is a pattern linking deaths to each other. These include placement of body parts in significant locations, such as doorsteps or directly underneath posters for the missing animal.

Millicent Jones* discovered her cat’s body underneath her car near Croydon last year. His body was discovered near the mutilated remains of a neighbour’s cat.

“They were such good friends, they played together all the time,” she says.

“It was just the shock of knowing that someone had actually done it,” she continued. “It just made my family feel really unsafe, we’ve got CCTV now.”

*names have been changed for anonymity reasons.

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