An animal charity still believes a human was involved in the high-profile spate of cat killings in South London despite the fact the Metropolitan Police has said traffic collisions and foxes are behind the feline deaths and mutilations.
South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty (Snarl), which initially spearheaded the campaign to establish the circumstances surrounding hundreds of grisly cat deaths, said it was ‘disappointed’ by the conclusion.
‘We firmly believe there is someone doing this,’ Snarl co-founder Tony Jenkins told i – The News’ sister website – following the police announcement.
‘We accept there is no actual evidence, nothing caught on CCTV, no clues left behind. But the fact that fox DNA has been found on the bodies does not necessarily mean the fox did it.
‘There are a number of behaviours around the killings that cannot be attributed to a fox or another animal.’
The Met Police began its three-year-long investigation in November 2015 after an increasing number of reports from the public about cats found with their heads and tails removed in the Croydon area.
There were also reports of similar deaths outside of London, including several in the Portsmouth area.
The gruesome hallmarks of the killings led to speculation it was the work of a serial killer, with the culprit dubbed the Croydon cat killer.
But Scotland Yard said the post-mortem examinations on 25 felines found they died of blunt force trauma, such as traffic collisions.
Their bodies were found to have been mutilated after death.
Six cases were deemed to be suspicious and required further investigation. Another 400 reports of mutilations were collated in and around London.
‘No evidence of human involvement’
With no witnesses, identifiable patterns or forensic leads, the force found no evidence of human involvement.
In its investigation, the Met took note of ‘expert opinion’ which highlighted how wildlife can be known to scavenge on roadkill, often removing heads and tails.
Analysis of CCTV footage showed foxes carrying body-parts of cats, the force added.
Frontline Policing Commander Amanda Pearson said: ‘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 are required into any of the allegations relating to mutilated cats.’
All of the cases of cat mutilations will be recorded as ‘no crime,’ said the Met.
Snarl and the RSPCA, which had also been involved in the investigation, were told about the findings on Thursday.
Mr Jenkins said it came as a surprise and that Snarl planned to ‘take them forward’ after ‘re-grouping’.
‘The police have said that they will continue to investigate incidents where there is clear evidence of human involvement,’ the charity said in a statement on its Facebook page.
‘Our priority at the moment is the victim’s families,’ it added.