Fears that UK Cat Killer ‘is still out there’ with 300 new victims

Social media users HUNT for ‘Croydon Cat Killer’

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A killer who has decapitated hundreds of cats is still at large, five-and-a-half years after police closed the case, according to the charity that helped with the investigation. The fiend was first known as the Croydon Cat Killer when the killings started in South London in 2015 before the area widened and they were subsequently known as the M25 Cat Killer before finally the UK Cat Killer.

In the three years from 2015 there were hundreds of cases where people’s beloved cats would be decapitated and their tails would be cut off.

Sometimes all the body parts would be present for the owners to discover near their homes, but sometimes the head or the tail, or both, would have been taken away from the scene.

These would then be placed back at the location sometime later.

Despite this the Metropolitan Police, which led the investigation named Operation Takahe, closed the case in October 2018 saying that foxes were to blame for the killings.

Fox DNA was found on victims – albeit from a comparatively very small sample.

The force said there was a lack of evidence of human involvement and this view was backed up by a scientific report from the Royal Veterinary College.

But similar cases are still being reported and Mr Jenkins, the founder of the charity South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty (SNARL), says everyone should remember that “the cat killer is still out there”.

Mr Jenkins added: “There’s been at least 200 or 300 victims since the 2018 case closure.

“To be honest, I’ve lost count and I’ve stopped recording.

“Even through Covid and lockdown, we were still getting cases.”

Mr Jenkins told Daily Mirror that several vets that helped SNARL with the investigation phoned him after the police statement was released to say it definitely wasn’t foxes.

And he says he even had police officers phoning him to say something wasn’t right.

He said: “Two or three months’ later when they closed the case, we actually did have as many 20 serving police officers ring us up and go ‘What the f***? “There’s no way foxes did that’.”

Victims of the so-called UK Cat Killer also included rabbits, foxes and swans.

The carcasses would usually be left on display, often in people’s back gardens, and the cuts would be very clean with hardly any blood, if any, around the fur or the wound.

Mr Jenkins said: “But what’s synonymous with all of these is that when the head’s removed, it’s always right at the base of the neck – so the head and the neck was missing.

“When we’ve had heads found or returned, it’s been cut at the top of the neck… so there’s no neck bone. It’s almost like they might be keeping the neckbone as a souvenir.

“In every case, it’s always no neckbone attached. Every victim including – rabbits and foxes – always their neck bone is missing.”

Mr Jenkins says that because the bodies are left out there is a danger that a fox will either have a nibble on it or move the corpse.

He said this is why several of the killed cats had fox DNA on them.

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Veterinary pathologists found that the cause of death in 25 victims was blunt force trauma, such as being hit by a car.

But the report did not make any conclusions about whether the blows could have been done deliberately.

The Met Police said scavenging by wildlife was the “likely cause” of cat mutilations and found CCTV footage for three separate cases showing foxes carrying bodies or body parts of cats.

All three of these cases were from 2017.

SNARL still believes the deaths are human-related and discounts the theory that the cats were hit by cars because in the cases they saw the animals did not have scuffed claws.

At the moment when a cat is hit by a vehicle their claws come out and scrape against the road. The impact of the collision may also cause grazes under their paw pads.

Mr Jenkins has seen hundreds of cases of potential victims and says, as far as he can recall, he never saw any scuffed claws.

He also said that many of the cats were found in back gardens or elsewhere away from roads so they physically couldn’t have been hit by a car.

Mr Jenkins added: “Even if it was road traffic accidents and then foxes, why don’t we get cases right across the country?

“Why don’t we get it in France… or in Germany?”

Shortly before the case was closed by the Met it received freedom of information requests asking about funding for Operation Takahe.

Frontline Policing Commander Amanda Pearson says the workload increased as more cases were reported, and there weren’t enough resources available to keep up.

She said: “The decision was made to allocate a large number of similar reports of mutilated cats to the officers who were investigating the initial spate of such allegations.

“In particular, they were following up the six suspicious cases identified by the post-mortem examinations.

“While this increased the workload of those officers, it significantly reduced the resources that would have been required for different officers in different units to record and assess each allegation separately.

“It is this collating of reports that enabled officers to work with experts and reach the conclusion that no further police investigations are required into any of the allegations relating to mutilated cats.”

Mr Jenkins says they are not getting any closer to finding the cat killer.

He added: “I still don’t believe it’s foxes; I definitely think it’s at least one person doing it – possibly a small group of people.”

And he urged cat owners to keep their pets indoors at night, because a lot of cases were reported first thing in the morning.

The Metropolitan Police has not commented on claims the UK Cat Killer is “still out there”.

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