Steve Bouquet, a 54-year-old security guard, was on trial for the deaths of nine cats and the injuries inflicted on seven others in October 2018 and July 2019. He had pleaded not guilty.
British justice on Friday sentenced a man to five years and three months in prison for slaughtering nine cats in the space of a few months in Brighton, sowing terror among feline owners in the southern English resort.
Steve Bouquet, a 54-year-old security guard, was on trial for the death of nine cats and the injuries inflicted on seven others in October 2018 and July 2019, as well as illegal possession of a knife. He had pleaded not guilty.
During the trial at Hove Crown Court, near Brighton, the owners of the killed pets (Hendrix, Tommy, Hannah, Alan, Nancy, Gizmo, Kyo, Ollie, and Cosmo) had recounted their horror when they found their bloody cats on their doorstep.
Steve Bouquet had told the police that he posed “no threat to the animals” and had assured them that he had heard about the murders of cats in the local press. However, a photo of a dead cat was found on his mobile phone.
For months, the police failed to unravel the mystery of these attacks, especially at night, before the perpetrator was caught using a surveillance camera installed by the owner of one of the dead cats.
After his arrest, law enforcement was able to use his mobile phone data to trace his movements at the scene of several misdeeds. At sentencing, Judge Jeremy Gold described his attitude as “cruel” and stressed that he was attacking “the heart of family life”.
Nancy’s owner had explained at the hearing that he had found his pet under his bed, with bloodstains leading to his doorstep. Taken to the vet and placed on an artificial respirator, the cat had died of a heart attack.
A witness said he saw Steve Bouquet, acting “strangely”, at the scene. Steve Bouquet’s motives remain mysterious.”It’s a shame that the owners of the cats don’t know why he did this,” admitted prosecutor Sally Lakin, interviewed by the PA agency. “This is such an unusual and extremely traumatic crime.”
In 2015, reports by residents of mutilated cats in Croydon, a district in south London, led to the opening of an investigation by Scotland Yard and raised fears of a serial killer of animals targeting mainly felines in the British capital.
But after three years of investigation and the census of 400 victims, the police had concluded that it was in fact the work of foxes, which can be regularly seen even in central London.