A FAMILY has been left devastated after their cherished pet cat was found mutilated in a killing linked to the M25 cat killer.
Father-of-four Simon Vine says his family is ‘hysterical’ after their three-year-old ginger cat, Millie, was found brutally killed near Meath Close, Hayling Island, on Sunday morning.
The animal – one of the family’s two pets – was discovered with open wounds and a nearly-decapitated head by a neighbour.
Rescuers say the fatal injuries look to have been inflicted by a human in the early hours of the morning.
Describing the impact the incident has had on his family, Mr Vine, 51, said: ‘This is an extremely difficult situation for us – the feeling is not good at all.
‘The sickest thing for our family to get its head around is the fact someone could kill a defenceless animal like that, in cold blood.
‘My children and my partner were absolutely hysterical when they heard the news.
‘I would do anything to see this horrible person caught for what they have done.’
After Millie’s body was discovered, it was examined by island vets and rescuers from Croydon-based charity South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty (Snarl).
While the Vine family initially assumed Millie had been killed by another animal before a post-mortem, findings showed that the incident could be linked to the so-called ‘M25 cat killer’, – who has been connected with the deaths of more than 400 animals across the nation since 2014, through the Met Police’s Operation Takahe.
Tony Jenkins, co-founder of Snarl, said: ‘Given how busy the case of this killer has kept us, we were sitting there on Sunday thinking how odd it was we hadn’t heard anything for a while.
‘That was when we got a call from Hayling Island.
‘After we took Millie back to London for an examination alongside other victims, it was clear her injuries were similar to those we had seen as part of this investigation before.
‘I don’t want to go into the gory details, but it looked like she had been carved out.’
To help avoid a similar tragedy occurring again on Hayling Island, Mr Jenkins issued residents a word of safety advice.
He said: ‘We are confident the killer is no longer on Hayling Island, but we believe Millie’s death is related to others in this case.
‘For that reason – knowing the killer has gone back to places before – I would advise
residents to stay vigilant and make sure they are bringing their pets inside at night to be safe.’
As his family unites to cope with the death of their beloved pet, Mr Vine has offered a £500 reward to anyone who may have information leading to the prosecution of Millie’s killer.
He said: ‘If someone can do this to an animal so consistently, my worry is they can do it to a person too.
‘It is crucial this person is found and given the help they so clearly need.
‘Anyone with information should contact me on Facebook.’
Millie’s death has been reported to Hampshire Constabulary and Met Police.