How detectives solved the Brighton Cat Killer case Brighton News

A detective who helped catch the Brighton cat killer explained how the police solved the case.

Sussex Police Detective Inspector Chris Thompson explained how the force re-enacted the cat murders across the city.

It comes as Steve Bouquet, 54, of Rose Hill Terrace, has been convicted of killing nine cats and injuring seven others.

The series of attacks in the city left the police perplexed.

DI Chris Thompson said: “At the end of 2018 we became aware of a number of reports that cat owners believed their cats had been deliberately killed or injured.

“We had to determine if there was human involvement in these cases and subject two cats to post-mortem examinations by a specialist veterinarian at the Royal Veterinary College.

“It was found that one of the cats had been deliberately stabbed with a sharp tool, but the other had undergone too many surgeries to draw a definitive conclusion.

“The attacks had taken place in a fairly confined area of ​​town with two separate groups east and west of Preston Road, just south of Preston Park and a line running from the Brighton station area to near the seafront.

“However, there were no witnesses to the savage acts and there is no indication of who was responsible.”

The Argus: Sussex Police Explained How They Caught The Cat Killer

The breakthrough came in May 2019, when nine-month-old Hendrix was stabbed with a knife in Crown Gardens, a narrow passage connecting Church Street and North Road in Brighton.

DI Thompson continued, “The owners of Hendrix were home on the early evening of May 31, when he entered, bleeding profusely from a single knife wound,

“The owners discovered a trail of blood leading from the passage to their home, then noticed a CCTV camera nearby.

“It had been set up by a neighbor whose own cat had suffered the same fate, after being stabbed and killed a year before.

“We looked at the footage and found that they captured Bouquet bending down to pet the cat before pulling something out of his backpack and making a sudden movement towards him. Hendrix ran away, but sadly later died from his injuries.

“This was to mark a turning point in our investigation because, for the first time, we had evidence of who was responsible. Two days later, on June 2, 2019, we arrested the suspect and during a search of his home we found a knife with cat DNA on the blade and its DNA on the handle.

“We also found a number of images of cats alive at various locations in the city and also one that showed a dead cat, Kyo, who had been killed in May 2019.

“In an interview, Bouquet told us that cats have always been friendly to him and that he often pats them while he walks.

“He was released on bail while our investigations continued and we established that he had never been out of town at the relevant times of the offenses – this was when the cat was last seen unharmed. until he was found injured or dead.

“He was never at work during the entire period during the relevant periods, there was a preponderance of violations between his home and his place of work when he was working. But when he was not at work, the offenses mainly occurred near his home.

“In addition, we found that when he had a period of leave, the attacks increased from one or two per month to several over the course of a week.

“We knew that with the exception of the Crown Gardens CCTV, we were relying on circumstantial evidence, but as the investigation progressed we were able to establish location data from his cell phone. and we refuted his claim that he found the knife on his way to work on the morning of his first arrest.

In addition, a witness had come forward with a positive identification of him after seeing a man act suspiciously shortly before a cat was found dead in the Shaftsbury Road area.

“Due to the unique nature of this investigation, a number of experts were identified to help assess the available evidence and information, including proving that the wounds were stabbing and the interpretation and examination of his cell phone.

“His laptop showed he had repeatedly accessed a website about cats lost in the city, paying particular attention to a cat that was killed. He had also viewed numerous videos of cats killing dogs and two photographs of a dead cat in a front garden, taken at different times of the day, were recovered in his devices and allegedly taken by him.

“No other such incident has been reported since his arrest.

“This was enough to provide us with a file to submit to the prosecution, which authorized the 17 charges on December 22, 2019.”

Chief Superintendent Nick May, Division Commander for Brighton and Hove, said: ‘It has had a devastating impact on those who have seen their beloved pets killed or seriously injured and Bouquet’s actions have naturally caused a lot. of concern and concern to other pet owners in town. .

“There have also been huge financial implications, with some spending as much as £ 7,500 trying to save their animals.

“It was a necessarily complex and exhaustive investigation. I would like to express my thanks to the investigative team who worked tirelessly to achieve this positive result, to the CPS and to the many experts we have called upon to support the prosecution.

“There is no indication that Bouquet is involved in other incidents related to the murder or injury of cats elsewhere in the country – indeed, evidence suggests he rarely leaves Brighton.

“There is no indication that there is another person in Brighton and Hove causing damage to the cats and we are not looking for anyone else involved in this type of crime.

“However, we understand the considerable public interest in this matter and we share our learning with the National Crime Agency and other forces that have experienced similar incidents.”

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This notice was published: 2021-06-30 17:03:26

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