A CRIMINAL suspected of mutilating and decapitating hundreds of animals - including three in Southsea - could escalate their crimes to attacking vulnerable women and children.
That’s the stark message from Andy Collin of Metropolitan Police, following the deaths of hundreds of rabbits, foxes and cats in Greater London and beyond since 2015.
So far no arrests have been made as part of Scotland Yard’s ‘Operation Takahe’, which has investigated more than 360 deaths since it was started in 2015.
But in many cases, the heads or limbs of killed animals have been removed and returned to their owners or the area they came from.
While no evidence suggests the crimes of the so-called ‘M25 cat killer’ could escalate to humans, Detective Sergeant Andy Collin said: ‘There is a known link between serial killers and harming animals when you look into their dark history.
‘If you look at offending patterns, the assumption is this killer is getting some form of gratification. The concern is they will cease getting that gratification and escalate the attacks to humans, specifically vulnerable women and girls.’
Earlier this year, fears were sparked when the decapitation of a Southsea cat was linked to Operation Takehe.
In April, a black-and-white family cat named Poppy was found dead in Marmion Road by employees of a nearby shop.
Two other Portsmouth cat deaths were also linked to the crime wave – with some suggesting the criminal may have struck while on holiday in the city.
Speaking to a national newspaper following the incidents, a Hampshire police spokesperson said: ‘We believe these incidents may be linked to Operation Takahe, a series of cat deaths in the Croydon/M25 area, and is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police Service.’