Article by Christine Sexton: Pet owners have been warned to be on alert for anyone acting suspiciously around animals after the notorious cat killer has struck again in south Essex.
The M25 cat killer, also know as the Croydon cat killer or the UK cat killer is now thought to have killed, dismembered and decapitated more than 400 cats across England, beginning in 2014 in Croydon with the most recent report in Western Road, Billericay on Saturday.
The Met launched an investigation in December 2015 under the name Operation Takahe led by Det Sgt Andy Collin after the animal charity South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty (Snarl) raised concerns about cats found dead and missing their heads and tails.
Now, co-founder of Snarl Boudicca Rising, 46, is at the forefront to catch the serial cat killer and travels the country visiting scenes where possible victims have been found. The cat killer is also believed to have brutally mutilated a cat, in Wickford in October 2016.
Speaking to the Echo, Ms Rising has said they are convinced the latest attack in Billericay is linked to the cat killer.
“We never give out details because we don’t want to encourage copycats but we have a list of 26 things to look for and this incident ticked all of them. I have no doubt whatsoever that this was him.”
Previous injuries have included mutilation and decapitation. Ms Rising said they are preparing leaflets to distribute around Billericay to make pet owners aware he could strike again in the same area, as he has been known to do in the past.
“We advise that anyone with pets keeps them indoors at night which I know can be difficult with cats. It’s also a case of just reporting anything suspicious. If you see someone trying to lure cats or harm them in any way, report it. People can ring us if they don’t want to speak to the police.”
As Snarl regularly visit the scene of suspected attacks, Ms Rising sees firsthand the impact the gruesome crime has on owners and thinks the killer gets off on the horror of mutilation.
“It is just horrendous. For animal lovers, it is a bit like seeing a child without limbs. All the profiles we have had done suggest it is someone who hates animals. He seems to get off on the mutilation”
Snarl had profiles done by psychologists early on but Ms Rising insists it is not used as a restrictive tool.
“All profiling is educated guess work based on similar cases so if you get something wrong, then it can be misleading. We had it done early in the case and the police have had it done more recently. We think the locations of the killings could be related to his work. He is probably someone with a lot of disposable income and time or who does a specialist job not many people do. What we can’t find is a pattern in his journeys.”
The charity believe it is likely to be a man based on research into this method of killing but they are keeping an open mind.
The Metropolitan Police have dealt with the killings since 2014 and launched Operation Takahe with at least 15 officers involved in the country-wide investigation. Ms Rising added:
“I’m really pleased with the police as traditionally, they don’t investigate this kind of crime but we meet regularly and they have dedicated specialist officer."
Although the probe has been ongoing since 2014 with the team being seemingly no closer to tracking him down, Ms Rising insists that progress is being made.
“The investigation is ongoing and we’ve had quite a lot of information If you measure progress in the amount of people we have ruled out, then we are definitely making progress. But the problem with a serial offender is they are very good at what they do. That’s why they’ve got away with it for so long. This person is very aware of CCTV and doing it at times when people are asleep, leaving very little evidence and no witnesses. We just have to keep going. Please call us if you have any concerns or find a body.”
No arrests have ever been made and there is a £10,000 reward for anyone with information leading to a conviction.
Anyone with information should call the Metropolitan Police on 101, the RSPCA on 0300 123 8018 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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Article by Christine Sexton, The Echo