Police today said that the infamous ‘Croydon cat killer’ responsible for hundreds of reported cat mutilations was unlikely to be a human.
Reports of cats found decapitated first started in November 2015 in Croydon and surrounding areas of South London before spreading further afield.
However after a thorough review of the evidence officers working alongside animal experts have said the killings are likely to be the result of scavenging by foxes.
The foxes were responsible for the ‘mutilations’ found, but the majority are believed to have been killed by blunt force caused by being run over by cars.
In 2016, the South Norwood Animal Rescue League (SNARL) arranged for 25 post-mortem examinations on cats that had been found mutilated which threw up six suspicious cases.
Met Police officers began to investigate the mutilations – while over 400 additional reports of mutilated cats were made, leading to a suspected cat-killer on the loose.
Following an exhaustive three-year investigation, however no human involvement was found – and where CCTV involvement was available, they showed foxes carrying away the bodies.
The pathologist who carried out the original post-mortem examinations on the cats which were deemed suspicious re-conducted them in August 2018 and found puncture wounds consistent with scavenging wildlife.
Officers said such reported spates of cat-killings are not uncommon and today met with SNARL and the RSPCA to conclude that there was no human involvement in the feline deaths.
All cases of cat killings reported as part of the Croydon cat killer are going to be recorded as not crimes.
Frontline Policing Commander Amanda Pearson said: “On average, the Met receives over 1,000 calls each month relating to animals and animal welfare.
“We understand the reason for this – people trust the police to help them when they suspect others have done wrong, fear for their own safety or simply are facing situations that they are unable to handle themselves.
“We will always assist the public in an emergency, but I would urge people to report concerns relating to animal welfare in the first instance to the RSPCA.
“The decision was made to allocate a large number of similar reports of mutilated cats to the officers who were investigating the initial spate of such allegations. In particular, they were following up the six suspicious cases identified by the post-mortem examinations.
“While this increased the workload of those officers, it significantly reduced the resources that would have been required for different officers in different units to record and assess each allegation separately.
“It is this collating of reports that enabled officers to work with experts and reach the conclusion that no further police investigations.”