A Brighton security guard has denied a spate of cat killings and injuries around Brighton this morning.
Steve Bouquet, 52, of Rose Hill Terrace, Brighton, appeared at Brighton Magistrates’ Court accused of 16 charges of criminal damage, all against cats.
The attacks, which mostly took place under cover of darkness, led to the deaths of nine cats. A further seven cats survived.
Bouquet is also charged with having a Leatherman knife in Frederick Place, Brighton, on Sunday 2 June last year.
Prosecuting, David Holman said because of the number of offences there were several witnesses and the trial was likely to take two weeks.
District Judge Tessa Szagun committed the case to Lewes Crown Court, where Bouquet will appear on February 20 for a plea and directions hearing.
Bouquet appeared in the dock wearing a black leather jacket and white t-shirt.
The public gallery of the usually quiet courtroom was full and security guards were waiting outside the door.
Defending, Kirsty Craghill requested an order preventing Bouquet’s house number from being read out in court.
The hearing was briefly adjourned for the press to decide whether to object. Reporters present to say that house numbers are not normally published and so no order was needed.
However, Miss Craghill referred to those present at the back of the court, saying: “There’s a number of people at the back of the court. This case has been widely discussed on Facebook.
“We know understandably that there’s a huge strength of feeling.”
District Judge Szagun said: “I hope that the individuals who are in court are responsible individuals but I’m bound by the directions that I have read out about this being an open court room and the principle being that I can only withold information in very exceptional circumstances where it’s to do with the administration of justice and not motivated by sympathy or indeed a risk that it might expose individuals to.
“Therefore I refuse the application and say that the number should be given.”
The cats which died are:
- Hendrix, who belonged to Stewart Montgomery. The charge says he was injured in Crown Gardens on Friday 31 May 2019 and the damage was worth £1,662.93
- Tommy, who belonged to Carolyn Green. The charge says he was injured in Cheltenham Place, Brighton on Thursday 8 November 2018 and the damage was worth £1,799.28
- Hannah, who belonged to Marianna Penturo. The charge says she was injured in Crown Gardens on Thursday 11 October 2018 and the damage was worth £150
- Alan, who belonged to Katerine Maddock. The charge says he was injured in North Gardens on Monday 4 February 2019 and the damage was worth £135
- Nancy, who belonged to Jeff Carter. The charge says she was injured in Shaftesbury Road on Monday 18 March 2019 and the damage was worth £3,214
- Gizmo, who belonged to Emma O’Sullivan. The charge says he was injured in Ditchling Rise on Tuesday 27 March 2019 and the damage was worth £384.40
- Kyo, who belonged to Paul Tofts. The charge says he was injured in Rugby Road on Tuesday 2 May 2019 and the value of the damage was unknown
- Ollie, who belonged to Sarah McKenzie. The charge says he was injured in Rugby Road on Wednesday 3 May 2019 and the damage was worth £384.40
- Cosmo, who belonged to Lucy Kenward. The charge says he was injured in Port Hall Place on Saturday 1 June 2019 and the damage was worth £5,056.44
The cats which survived are:
- Alistair, who belongs to Stewart Cruse, on Sunday 14 October 2018 at Trafalgar Terrace, to the value of £2,421.06
- Wheatley, who belongs to Andrea Williams, on Tuesday 2 October 2018 at Crown Gardens, value unknown
- Rigby, who belongs to Penny Vessey, on Wednesday 31 October 2018 at Stafford Road, to the value of £915.58
- Samson, who belongs to Seanin Mouland, on Sunday 18 November 2018 at Ditchling Rise, to the value of £7,500
- Jasper, who belongs to David Perry, on Monday 12 February or Tuesday 13 February 2019 at Rugby Road, to the value of £2,140.95
- Maggie, who belongs to Claire Smith, on Saturday 1 June 2019 at Coventry Street, to the value of £4,826.72
- Gideon, who belongs to Tina Randall, at Trafalgar Terrace on Monday 5 November 2018, to the value of £1,623.33
Bouquet was released on bail, with the condition that he doesn’t enter three areas of Brighton, that he sleeps at his home address each night, and that he regularly signs on at the John Street police station.