London, United Kingdom: A British man was sentenced to more than five years in prison on Friday for carrying out a months-long campaign of cat killings in a beach resort.
According to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), a judge at Hove Crown Court in southern England sentenced Steve Bouquet, a 54-year-old former security guard, to five years and three months in prison for murdering nine cats and injuring seven more in the tourist town of Brighton.
Their owners, some of whom were present at the sentencing, described to the jury how they discovered their cats bleeding on their doorsteps following the knife attacks.
Bouquet’s murdering spree between October 2018 and June 2019 was “cruel, prolonged, and struck at the very heart of family life,” according to Judge Jeremy Gold.
Bouquet was found guilty of criminal damage and weapon possession.
Because Bouquet did not own the animals, the allegation of criminal damage rather than animal cruelty was decided. According to the CPS, it also carries a harsher sentence.
Bouquet, a former naval sailor, generally operated at night, making it difficult for authorities to find any leads.
He was later seen on CCTV by the owner of the first cat slain, who had installed a camera outside their home.
Bouquet was seen approaching a cat and stabbing it with a knife from his bag in the footage.
The cat ran back to its home and died, but the owners followed a trail of blood and discovered the camera, according to The Times.
Two days later, the owner of the video spotted Bouquet in the street and alerted the cops.
It was unknown what motivated Bouquet to carry out the attacks, but authorities discovered that he had searched on his laptop for videos of dogs biting cats.
“None of us can comprehend what drove Bouquet to do this to family pets,” said Jayne Cioffi, a senior crown prosecutor.
Bouquet maintained his innocence during a police interview read aloud during his trial, but cops discovered a photo of one of the deceased kittens on his phone.
According to the CPS, a knife with cat blood on it was discovered at his residence, and his phone data linked him to the timings and locations of additional killings.
During the trial, the judge stated that the true number of cats attacked could have been far higher.
According to the PDSA veterinary charity, approximately 24 percent of adults in the United Kingdom own a cat.