Cat slasher found guilty of stabbing 16 cats

Steve Bouquet – Picture by David McHugh / Brighton Pictures

A shopping centre security guard has been found guilty of carrying out a campaign of cat killings.

Steve Bouquet, 54, attacked 16 cats in Brighton, East Sussex, killing nine.

On Wednesday a jury at Chichester Crown Court found him guilty of 16 offences of criminal damage, in relation to the cats, and possession of a knife.

Brighton and Hove News can now reveal he was arrested earlier this week after failing to turn up for his trial last Monday.

Bouquet was able to move through the city unseen and unheard as he knifed people’s beloved pets, his trial heard.

The campaign of attacks went on for several months between October 2018 and June 2019.

Nine cats – Hendrix, Tommy, Hannah, Alan, Nancy, Gizmo, Kyo, Ollie and Cosmo – were killed while another seven were injured.

During the trial jurors heard accounts from several cat owners who had found their pets bleeding on their doorsteps.

Tina Randall described the moment she discovered her 11-year-old cat Gideon had been injured in November 2018.

“He was fading and as I picked him up, blood splurted out,” she said.

“I immediately thought it was a stab wound.”

Gideon eventually recovered from the three-quarter inch wound, Ms Randall told the court, and vet bills for his surgery came to more than £1,600.

Jeff Carter described finding a pool of blood on his doorstep in Shaftesbury Road and finding his cat Nancy hiding underneath his bed in March 2019.

“I saw that Nancy had a large wound on the right side of her body that was bleeding heavily,” he said in a statement.

Nancy suffered a cardiac crash and was given CPR and put on a ventilator but did not survive her injuries.

Jurors heard how Craig Neeld had been walking along Shaftesbury Road on the same day that Nancy was found stabbed.

In his statement, he described receiving a phone call from his friend Barry, who asked him to look out for a “guy acting really odd”.

Mr Neeld said he saw a bald man who was “bending over and moving his arms” as if operating a camera phone and thought he was “up to no good”.

Mr Neeld later identified Bouquet as the man he had seen at a police identification procedure, the court heard.

A breakthrough in the search for the Brighton cat killer came when a CCTV system set up by an owner of a killed cat appeared to capture a fresh attack on camera, a court heard.

Prosecutor Rowan Jenkins said: “He made a single mistake but that was all that was needed to expose him.”

In his police interview read out in court, Bouquet told officers that all he knew about the cat killings was what he had read in the newspapers and online.

He told police he was “no threat to animals” – but a photo of a dead cat was found on his phone, the court heard.

A provisional date for sentencing has been set for July 12.

Jacqui Cuff, head of advocacy and government relations at Cats Protection, said: “This was a hateful crime against sixteen much loved family members. We send our sincere sympathies to the owners who have lost their beloved pets in such tragic and gruesome circumstances.”

“Cats Protection was part of the recent campaign that resulted in the Government increasing the maximum sentence for the most serious crimes against animals from six months to five years, so await the sentencing with interest.

“Crimes against cats are sadly still too common with frequent reports of poisonings, shooting and attacks and where the perpetrators are found, custodial sentences must be an option.”

  1. Hugh De Cat Reply

    I do hope he doesn’t get stabbed before he is sentenced.

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