A MAN who stabbed nine cats to death and injured seven others over a period of nine months has been jailed for more than five years.
Steve Bouquet, 54, of Rose Hill Terrace, Brighton, denied 16 counts of criminal damage in relation to killing and injuring the animals and one count of possession of a knife in a public place.
However after an eight-day trial he was found guilty and was this week sentenced to five years and three months imprisonment.
Chief Superintendent Nick May of Sussex Police said: “This has had a devastating impact on those who have had their beloved pets killed or seriously injured and Bouquet’s actions understandably caused a lot of concern and worry to other pet owners in the city.”
Bouquet first struck in October 2018, after which police received a spate of reports from owners who believed their cats had been deliberately attacked.
An examination of two cats revealed they had died from stab wounds.
Police got their break on May 31, 2019 when CCTV captured a man stroking a cat before appearing to attack it.
The cat escaped but later died of its injuries.
Its owners retraced the trail of blood and spotted the CCTV camera, which had been installed by another cat owner whose cat had previously been stabbed to death.
As a result of the footage, police arrested Bouquet two days later.
A search of his house revealed a knife with cat DNA on the blade and Bouquet’s DNA on the handle.
Police also found a number of images of live cats in various locations around Brighton and also one that showed a dead cat that had been killed in May 2019.
Meanwhile Bouquet’s laptop showed that he had repeatedly accessed a website in relation to lost cats in the city, paying particular attention to a cat that was killed.
He had also viewed numerous dog killing cat-related videos.
Two photographs of a dead cat in a front garden, taken at different times of the day, were recovered from his devices and were believed to have been taken by him.
Pet owner Stewart Montgomery, whose cat Hendrix was caught on film being attacked by Bouquet, spoke of his devastation.
“We rushed him to the vet but he was too badly injured to be saved,” he said.
“We miss him as he was part of our family. In fact we were so shocked about what had happened, we decided to move away from the city centre.
“We are so pleased and relieved that the police arrested the person responsible and he was convicted of these shocking crimes.”