Brighton cat killing suspect charged

Posted On 23 Dec 2019 at 3:25 pm

A man has been charged with 16 attacks on cats in Brighton. Nine of the cats died.

Security guard Steve Bouquet, 52, is due to appear in court next month after being formally charged yesterday (Sunday 22 December).

Sussex Police said this afternoon: “A man will appear in court next month charged in connection with Operation Diverge, the investigation into a number of cat deaths in the city of Brighton and Hove.

“The CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) has authorised the charge of Steve Bouquet, 52, a security guard, from the London Road area of Brighton.

The Spearhead

“On Sunday (22 December) he was charged with 16 counts of criminal damage.

“This related to the wounding and killing of cats in the city between (Tuesday) 2 October 2018 and (Saturday) 1 June 2019.

“He has also been charged with possessing a knife blade or sharp pointed article in a public place on (Sunday) 2 June 2019.

“He has been bailed to attend Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 23 January 2020.”

South east district crown prosecutor Sally Lakin said: “Following a spate of attacks on cats in the Brighton area, the Crown Prosecution Service has authorised Sussex Police to charge Steven Bouquet with 16 charges of criminal damage, relating to attacks on 16 cats, nine of which were killed. Seven were seriously injured.

“The allegations relate to incidents which took place between (Tuesday) 2 October 2018 and (Saturday) 1 June 2019.

“This is a complex case and this decision was made following a careful review of all of the evidence presented to us.

“Criminal proceedings against this defendant are now active and he has a right to a fair trial.

“It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”

The CPS said: “We carefully considered which charges would be the most appropriate in this case and concluded that the defendant should be charged with criminal damage.

“This does not in any way detract from the seriousness of the offence or the great distress these incidents will have caused the owners of the cats.

“However, under current legislation, cats and other animals are deemed as property.

“Prosecutors did consider whether to charge animal cruelty but the circumstances of the case meant this was inappropriate, as the defendant is not the owner of the cats.

“In addition, animal cruelty is a summary-only offence and therefore would attract a lesser sentence than criminal damage.”

  1. fed-up with Brighton politics Reply

    You have to be mentally ill to do this. I doubt that we will ever find out what caused this.You either love cats (I have two rescues, who are rather dysfunctional but I would never hurt them and I look after them) or you’re not bothered one way or the other. However, to go out and deliberately kill or injure them indicates someone with a serious mental disorder. What’s next? Humans? Unfortunately, this will be treated as ‘lesser than criminal damage’ and probably just subject to a fine,if the man is convicted. I would suggest that these crimes show serious mental disorder and that the law should be changed.

  2. fed-up with Brighton politics Reply

    So, this is about the same as multiple occasions of chucking a brick through a window in legal terms, is it? Or perhaps even less serious? It isn’t. A window is inanimate and can be easily fixed. A cat, or any pet, is a living animal with feelings, suffers when injured and the owners also suffer greatly from the pet’s loss or injury.

    What kind of sick person does this?

    • ChrisP Reply

      The article is pretty clear that the charge was chosen because it would lead to a heavier sentence (given the nature of the crime) than animal cruelty, not because it was the most literally appropriate charge.

      • Katsudira Reply

        I don’t think that’s correct. Unfortunately I believe the true reason is that cats are legally defined as property and animal cruelty only applies if you are the proper owner of the cat. Yes I agree these laws need to be changed. Holy cow.

  3. gilbert bligh Reply

    Tis a person of poor repute,
    Till he faced the slave;
    Which ne’er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him,
    Till he unseamed him from the nave to th’ chops,
    And fixed his head upon our battlements.

  4. Eye4aneyeguy Reply

    Brighton magistrates on the 22nd of Jan. See you there…

    • Jefferson Reply

      Erm that’s a day early???

  5. Terry Reply

    The Police have requested that no comments are made. Why are we allowed to comment here.

    • Katsudira Reply

      “…which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”

      Do you think the Police are literally telling us not to talk about it? That’s a bit absurd don’t you think. Not to mention literally a violation of free speech. They’re just asking us to keep our pitchforks in the shed.

    • Frank le Duc Reply

      Thanks Terry. The key thing is not to say or write things that might prejudice a jury should the defendant appear before a jury. The law accepts that we have a right to speak and write about all sorts of things but it places restrictions on those things that have a strong likelihood of preventing a defendant from being given a fair trial – because in the eyes of the law we are all still innocent until proven guilty. We trust our readers to respect the boundaries and if not, any prejudicial comments drawn to our attention will be taken down. Hope that helps to explain our position.

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