In a murderous episode reminiscent of London’s Jack the Ripper, the Croydon Cat Killer has butchered and mutilated more than 50 animals (mostly cats) in the Croydon, England area, taking “trophies” with him before dumping the creature’s disfigured body on or near the owner’s home. Authorities fear the maniac killer may be out of control and evolving toward human prey. Said one policeman who is investigating the killings,
“This is the stuff of nightmares.”
Wayne Bryant, who lives near Croydon, found the remains of his tortoiseshell cat Amber in an area behind his home a day after she went missing. He told reporters,
“Her head was missing; her tail was missing. We found out afterwards that she also had a broken back. That’s quite a level of violence against a small, helpless animal.”
The Croydon Cat Killer (also referred to in the press as the Cat Killer of Croydon) typically kills cats but has also maimed and murdered rabbits, puppies, and a fox. There is almost never blood on the scene and authorities say the killer takes extreme measures to ensure no DNA evidence is left behind. A veterinarian who worked with the police told reporters:
“I think they are being strangled and then taken off-site to be butchered, and then the bodies are being returned and dumped, that is why there is no blood found at the scene.”
Police believe the killings may date back to 2012 and say the killer’s victims are often left displayed near the owner’s home, decapitated, tendons cut, hips dislocated, legs or tails cut off or broken, and the body disemboweled, with their intestines left outside the body. One owner described how he found his pet:
“The way she was laid out – she wasn’t just thrown. She was put there to be found in that position. I’m sure she was put there like that to have more of a shock factor because it wasn’t instantly clear the head was missing. It was only after you picked her up that you realized there was no head.”
The locations of the murders spread across the London area including not only Croydon but also Crystal Palace, Stepney Green, Mitcham, Sutton, Streatham, Peckham, Charlton, and Finchley. The Metropolitan Police, using a high priority, special ops team called Operation Takahe, are combing the areas for witnesses and clues.
Police say several of the animals were found with raw chicken or fish in their stomachs hinting that the killer may lure the animals to him with the offer of raw meat. The killer may also be improving his technique. A veterinarian who is assisting with the investigation says that as the killings progressed, the decapitations had vastly improved in surgical competency.
“My fear initially was the cats were being hacked to death because the cuts were really random but the incisions have become much more precise, which suggests they are being killed first, then mutilated.”
Several of the dismembered animal carcasses were missing body parts leading police to believe that the killer is keeping some body parts as “trophies” to help him “relive the moment”. The killer is believed to be male due to the fact that it takes strength to strangle a cat or break its back, and uses a sharp long-bladed knife (not a scalpel) to dismember and mutilate the animals. Police note that because DNA analysis has found no evidence of foreign material beneath the animals’ claws, the killer is thought to wear gloves and protective clothing when catching and killing the cats.
Several psychologists have come forward warning that the killer could prey on humans next. The Boston Strangler Albert DeSalvo, Milwaukee Cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer, and the students behind the Columbine High School massacre were all cruel to animals prior to attacking humans. Police say,
“Of three psychologists: two of them believed there was potential to build up towards attacking people, but one said that because the attacks against cats have been going on for so long shows the killer is having problems moving past it.”
Cat owners are being warned to keep their cats behind closed doors, especially during the night and to report any mutilated cats, wherever they are found. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is offering a reward to anyone providing information that leads to the killer’s arrest.
A similar kitty murder spree took place in Yonkers, New York in 2014.