A former security guard has been jailed for a series of cat killings in night-time attacks around Brighton today.
Steve Bouquet, 55, was jailed at Hove Crown Court to five years for killing nine cats and injuring seven others. He was found guilty, following a trial, of 16 offences of criminal damage, in relation to the cats, and possession of a knife.
The attacks, which took place across the city between October 2018 and May 2019. In every case, the injuries were caused by a knife.
Bouquet was arrested after being caught on CCTV at the scene of one of the attacks and a knife, with feline blood on it and his DNA on the handle, was found during a search of his home. Mobile phone evidence placed him in the vicinity of many of the stabbings during the time they took place.
Jayne Cioffi from the CPS said: “This has been a tragic case for all the owners involved. Not only did Steve Bouquet inflict horrendous suffering to each of the animals he attacked, but he also caused real trauma to their owners, many of whom found their beloved pets injured and bleeding.
“None of us can comprehend what drove Bouquet to do this to family pets. His claims that it was simply chance that he was present at various times when the animals were attacked were rightly dismissed by the jury after being disproved by the investigation and prosecution work.
“The CPS will always seek to prosecute people for cruelty to animals, either pets or other wildlife, where cases pass our legal test.”
During an investigation by Sussex Police, several experts assisted in the assessment of evidence including proving the injuries to the cats were intentional stab wounds from a knife and not from another animal. Consequently, the case was referred to the CPS which then charged the defendant with 16 offences in relation to the cats and one possession of a knife in a public place.