The idea of someone harming our beloved pets is unimaginable. It's bad enough to think about them accidentally running into the street and being hit by a car, but now we've got worry about a new kind of heinous serial killer - one who is targeting animals in London.
The Croydon Cat Ripper (or the M25 Cat Killer, as he's more commonly called) may just be one of the most upsetting London serial killers of all time. His name is a nod to the infamous Jack the Ripper, but unlike his infamous peer, he hasn't dabbled in human homicide.
Police have launched a widespread investigation called Operation Takahe to catch the London Cat Killer in his tracks, but have been largely unsuccessful. He's one of the most skilled animal killers of recent times and escapes without a single scratch from a wanton claw. Since 2015, he has decapitated and murdered over 400 cats and small animals. Most recently, the disappearance of numerous cats during the holiday season was attributed to the sinister serial killer.
Crimes committed against animals are some of the cruelest, and police worry that the M25 Cat Killer is merely satiating a growing taste for human killing. Like the serial killers who came before him, animal cruelty is often a red flag that escalates into full-blown human murder.
These Croydon Cat Killer facts will have you holding your pets a little closer. If you or anyone you know might have information relating to the case, reach out to the South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty (SNARL).
Disclaimer: the cats pictured in this article are all victims of the M25 killer. May they rest in kitty heaven with endless bowls of tuna.
The Death Of 400 Cats, Swans, Foxes And Rabbits Has Been Attributed To The Croydon Cat Ripper
The Croydon Cat Ripper's trophy list is long and includes over 400 suspected victims which he dissects and decapitates. His tragic killings aren't limited to our feline friends – the killer has also slaughtered foxes, swans and rabbits in Greater London, Surrey, Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham and the Isle of Wight.
The first murder was discovered in September 2015, and since then they've all followed a similar gruesome pattern. Their heads and tails were severed and removed like trophies but with the precision of a surgeon. Somehow, the killer has barely been seen and never been caught.
The Killer Stages The Animal's Decapitated Heads In Public Places To Tip Off Local Residents
Local residents managed to link the animal deaths together because of the killer's patterns. The charge was lead by Tony Jenkins and his partner at SNARL (South Norwood Animal Rescue And Liberty) who noticed an increased number of dead animals on social media who all bore the same traits - their heads and tails were removed (sometimes, along with their paws) with immense surgical precision. The animals were staged in public places like parks and schools as if to intentionally scar young children. Sometimes, the heads would be displayed below the pet owner's own windows.
"It's the classic head and tail removal: clean cuts on both, with a bit of additional mutilation to the stomach area," Jenkins told AFP. "We've had cats matching that exact same thing in all sorts of different areas.”
After finding 12 suspected cat murders, SNARL asked the police to intervene. They still needed physical evidence before launching an investigation, so SNARL personally collected the bodies and brought them to a forensic veterinarian. Once he confirmed the deaths were linked, police launched Operation Takahe to catch the killer. Since then, Jenkins and his partner Boudicca Rising have driven around the UK collecting the bodies of hundreds of victims.
Forcing Cat Owners To Find Their Dead Pets Is A Twisted Game For The Killer
Imagine coming home from a bank holiday to find your beloved cat dismembered on your doorstep. This real horror excites the M25 Cat Killer, who investigators believe enjoys torturing humans by showing them the heinous ways he slaughters their beloved pets.
"With the positioning of the bodies, there is a real intent to hurt. If you hated cats and wanted to rid the world of them, you wouldn't display them. It's the display that shows he really wants to shock and hurt people," Rising told The Sun. "A lot of the bodies are left near schools, they're left in children's playgrounds on housing estates. It's sick. We don't think it's someone with mental illness, we think it's a psychopath."
This isn't just a crime against cats, though they're the pour souls who suffer the most. It's a crime against people – it's calculated torture that can quickly escalate.
“People need to understand the horror of someone who has opened their bedroom curtains in the morning, looked down and seen their beautiful cat without its head or tail," Jenkins told The Sun. "Whoever is responsible is a psychopath."
The horror isn't just limited to adults. Children often stumble upon the dismembered remains of their furry friends like a scene lifted straight from the 1994 thriller Fear.
"People told us that they came home and found pieces of cat left on their doorstep. One girl's cat had gone missing and she came home and found its tail neatly laid out waiting for her behind her gate," Rising said "They never found the rest of the cat."
The Killer Lures His Victims With Raw Meat As Bait
No one is exactly sure about how the M25 Cat Killer catches his victims. If the Cat Killer were to be scratched, he'd leave behind DNA evidence – but how do you capture a cat or a fox without having so much as a tiny scrape? Police believe he's luring the animals in with raw meat. After the remains of 10 mutilated cats were found in February 2016, they were examined by an expert who found raw chicken in their stomachs.
According to Vincent Egan, a University of Nottingham forensic science scholar, this is just a small fraction of why the cat killer is so mysterious.
“A mysterious criminal who challenges his ‘dissector’ skills and ability to thwart any surveillance,” he told AFP. “He must be able to attract the animal, kill it without being scratched, dissect it, place the body in a place where it can be seen - and all this discreetly."