When nine-month-old Hendrix returned residence bleeding closely from a knife wound the cat gave the impression to be simply one other sufferer of a mindless spree that had unfold panic throughout the town.
The string of assaults had left police stumped, however in stabbing Hendrix his attacker had made an error that will lead police proper to his door, bringing an finish to his reign of terror.
Now, the story of the Brighton cat killer is being advised in an ITV documentary. That includes police interviews and behind the scenes footage, How one can Catch a Cat Killer appears on the horrifying story of how one man caught concern into the hearts of pet homeowners – and the way these homeowners mixed to offer the important proof that led to the killer’s arrest.
It was October 2018 when police in Brighton first grew to become conscious of the likelihood that somebody was intentionally concentrating on cats.
In what gave the impression to be a collection of motiveless assaults, a variety of cats had been injured, some fatally. All of them came about in two distinct clusters within the metropolis: close to one of many seaside resort’s essential parks, and between the railway station and the seafront.
Over the subsequent 9 months, as many as 30 cats had been attacked, terrifying pet homeowners and prompting many to maintain their cats indoors.
Put up-mortem examinations of among the cats revealed they’d been stabbed with a pointy implement, however with no witnesses police had no indication of who was accountable.
The breakthrough got here when Hendrix was attacked in Could 2019. His proprietor, Stewart Montgomery, found a path of blood main away from their entrance door to a close-by passageway. He additionally noticed that protecting the passageway was a CCTV digital camera.
The digital camera had been put up by Alan Levy, a neighbour whose personal cat Hannah was one of many first killed, the earlier October, to attempt to catch the wrongdoer, ought to she or he strike once more.
Footage taken from the digital camera confirmed a person bending right down to stroke Hendrix, then taking one thing from a backpack and making a sudden motion in the direction of the cat, which then fled. Hendrix sadly died from his accidents.
Police recognized the person caught on movie as Steve Bouquet, a safety guard at a close-by purchasing centre and a Royal Navy veteran of twenty-two years.
A search of Bouquet’s flat discovered a knife along with his DNA on the deal with, and cat DNA on the blade. Police additionally discovered a number of photographs of dwell cats, and considered one of a lifeless cat that had been killed a number of weeks earlier.
Cell phone information confirmed Bouquet had been within the neighborhood of lots of the assaults, which came about close to his residence at occasions he was not working, and between his residence and the purchasing centre simply earlier than or after his shifts.
Evaluation of his laptop confirmed he had watched movies of canines killing cats, and repeatedly checked out a web site highlighting misplaced cats within the metropolis.
In police interview, Bouquet insisted that he was no risk to animals and that cats had all the time been pleasant to him.
Police dominated out any reference to assaults on cats in different elements of the nation – Bouquet hardly ever left Brighton – however determined there was sufficient proof to cost him in reference to 16 assaults on cats, 9 of which had been deadly, though he might have been chargeable for extra.
In addition to Hendrix and Hannah, the cats Bouquet killed had been named Tommy, Alan, Nancy, Gizmo, Kyo, Ollie and Cosmo.
Bouquet, then 54, denied duty, however failed to show up for his trial and was convicted in his absence, showing in courtroom just for his sentencing in July final 12 months.
He was jailed for a complete of 5 years and three months. Informed he would serve half his sentence in jail earlier than being launched on licence, he died in January this 12 months, simply six months into his jail time period.
Though the reason for loss of life has not been revealed, his sentencing listening to heard that Bouquet suffered from thyroid most cancers, which had unfold to his liver and lungs.
Bouquet never admitted stabbing the cats, and never provided an explanation for why he had done it, leaving the stricken pet homeowners mystified as to what motivated a person to hold out such sickening assaults.
However though the assaults stopped with Bouquet’s arrest, a lot of the proof in opposition to him was circumstantial. With out the CCTV footage, the results of a grieving cat proprietor taking issues into his personal arms, Bouquet might by no means have been arrested and the id of the Brighton cat killer might have remained a thriller.
How one can Catch a Cat Killer is on ITV at 9pm on Wednesday 8 June