A THREE year police investigation has concluded the “Croydon Cat Killer” is a myth.
Scotland Yard said the hundreds of reported cat mutilations were instead caused by “predation or scavenging by wildlife”.
Since November 2015, police and animal activists have been hunting for a culprit – also dubbed the “M25 cat killer” – who was suspected of bludgeoning animals to death and mutilating their corpses.
A £10,000 reward has been offered for catching the “killer”, who was likened to Jack the Ripper.
At one point a team of 15 Metropolitan Police officers were working on the investigation, which included a detective sergeant, four detective constables and ten police constables.
But police have now concluded there is “no evidence of human involvement” in any of the 500 reported cases.
The force revealed that a vet who had carried out post-mortem examinations of six “suspicious cat deaths” had “re-assessed” his findings of human involvement.
The veterinary pathologist had initially thought the cause of death was blunt force trauma. The mutilations were found to have occurred after death, and some of these were thought to have been caused by a sharp implement.
But he re-examined the bodies in August 2018 and found puncture wounds he hadn’t noticed before, believing they were likely to have been hit by cars and then scavenged by foxes.
In addition, in three instances where CCTV was obtained, footage showed foxes carrying bodies or body-parts of cats.
A woman in north London described how in April 2017, after finding the mutilated body of a cat in her garden, she checked CCTV and saw a fox carrying the cat’s head into her garden.
In June 2017, a cat’s head was found in a school playground in Catford. CCTV showed a fox carrying the head into the playground.
In July 2017, a witness found the body of a cat with no head or tail next to her property.
Suspecting the cat had been placed there, she checked CCTV and saw a fox drop the cat in the position in which it was found.
While police will not disclose how much money has been spent on the investigation, they last year admitted funding ten post-mortems at a cost of £7,500.
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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.”
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