Few cat owners (and those that love pets and wildlife in general) can fail to have heard of the UK Animal Killer, more commonly known as the “Croydon Cat Killer,” and also sometimes known as the M25 Cat Killer. This as-yet unidentified individual is thought by the police to be responsible for the deaths of over 400 pet cats, rabbits, and wild animals over the course of the last two years.
However, the name that the media has given to the culprit – the “Croydon Cat Killer” has proven to be rather inaccurate, as a significant number of animals have now been killed all across the UK since 2015, which has ultimately led to a police task force being formed to investigate the killings, and attempt to bring the culprit to justice.
If you own a pet cat or rabbit anywhere in the UK, it is vitally important to familiarise yourself with the basics of the case and to understand the threat that the killer poses to both domestic pets and wildlife such as foxes, in order to best protect your own pets – and to increase awareness of the case itself, with the goal of bringing the killer to justice.
In this article, we will outline the basic facts of the case itself, share a description of a person of interest that the police have pinpointed as the case’s main suspect, and share information on how pet owners and animal lovers can help to catch the killer and keep other pets safe.
The so-called Croydon Cat Killer first came to the attention of the police in Croydon, South London, in 2015, after a large number of pet cats were found killed and dismembered in the Croydon area, often deliberately left for their owners to find.
However, since the investigation began, the police have found that the geographical range of the killer’s activities is by no means restricted to Croydon, and instead spreads out to encompass many areas of greater London as well as towns and cities all across the UK.
To date, over 400 animals have been killed in the UK over the course of just two years by the suspect known as the “Croydon Cat Killer.”
Whilst the suspect’s base of operations and the area that was first and most acutely targeted by the killer is Croydon in South London, to date, pets and wild animals have been targeted across the length and breadth of the UK, in areas including Manchester, Brighton, Birmingham, Northampton, and the home counties.
Given the rate at which the culprit is operating, it is also important for pet owners across the UK, even in areas that have not been targeted to date, remain alert and vigilant in the interests of protecting their pets.
Based on police investigations into the killings, information suggests that the killer largely operates in suburban areas and after dark, and may lure cats (and other animals) into range using food such as raw chicken.
The animals in question are then killed, likely by means of blunt force trauma, sometimes thought to involve a vehicle. The animals’ bodies are then mutilated or dismembered (in some cases, the head, paws or tail are removed, and knife wounds are inflicted across the body) and usually, left in plain sight, for their owners or members of the public to find.
The Croydon Cat killer’s main targets of choice are domestic cats, but the killer’s activities have expanded over time to include both domestic rabbits and wild animals too, specifically foxes.
However, owners of pets of any type are urged to remain vigilant and take steps to safeguard their pets, regardless of species.
The police believe the killer to have links to the Addiscombe area of Croydon, although the sheer scale of the UK-wide killings mean that the killer may realistically be spotted anywhere in the UK.
The police have released a description of their main suspect in the case, being that of a white man in his 40’s with brown hair, who may wear a headlamp or carry a torch, and be wearing dark clothing. The description also states that the man may have visible acne scarring on his face.
Other information received indicates that the man may carry alternately a large man-bag and a rucksack, as well as food and toys to tempt cats to approach.
Members of the public are cautioned to avoid approaching the suspect directly, as he is known to carry at least once knife.
If you know someone who fits this description or if you see someone acting suspiciously in a manner that fits the killer’s mode of operation, members of the public are urged to call the police on 999, and quote “Operation Takahe.” In a non-emergency situation pertaining to the case, contact the police on 101 or via Crimestoppers anonymously by making a report online or by calling 0800 555 111.
Cat owners are urged to consider keeping their cats indoors during the hours of darkness, and for owners of smaller pets such as rabbits that may be kept in hutches outside, to bring them inside at night or to secure the yard or garden so as to make it as difficult as possible for the killer to enter the premises.
The existence of the Croydon Cat Killer only came to the police’s attention in December 2015 – and within a period of just two years, the killer has worked prolifically to kill over 400 animals.
This means that they are killing at an average rate of one animal almost every other day – and that takes into account just cases in which animals have been found and formally tied to the case, and the true figure may well be even higher.
Somebody must know the person responsible – the police’s description of their suspect is a strong one, and the killer must be able to travel widely and be absent from home at night on a routine basis to have avoided raising suspicions thus far.
Here are some of the steps that animal lovers can take to help the police to catch the killer.