‘UK Animal Killer’ fears reignite as dismembered cat ‘displayed’ in telltale way

Fears the infamous UK Animal Killer could be back after a cat’s dismembered head was discovered at a children’s playground last week.

The police closed investigations into the infamous case five years ago, but the telltale way the feline’s remains were displayed has sparked fears the killer could have resurfaced.

The Daily Star reported earlier today that the cat’s head was discovered at the base of a climbing frame at Homerton Grove Adventure Playground, in Hackney, London, on the afternoon of April 24.

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The RSPCA believes the slaughtered animal's limbs and head were deliberately placed on display – in the same way, the notorious killer would as his “calling card”.

A three-year probe by the Met Police into the deaths of hundreds of animals – mostly pet cats – began in 2015, dubbed Operation Takahe.

A Royal Veterinary College expert carried out 22 post-mortems on the victims and found the animals were killed by blunt force trauma.

They added the bodies were then mutilated with either knives or gardening shears.

But in 2018, the police probe declared no human involvement and claimed the animals were likely run over by vehicles and their remains scavenged.

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Now, five years later, the campaigns that raised the initial investigation are fearful the animal killer may be real.

Tony Jenkins, who runs animal rescue charity South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty (SNARL) in south London, said there could have been more than 300 cases since the probe was officially dropped.

He believes the discovery in Hackney last week bears all the hallmarks of the attacker – initially dubbed the Croydon Cat Killer when the deaths first emerged.

The 58-year-old said he has seen similar incidents where severed cat and fox heads have been left near children's playgrounds, gardens and trampolines – some in just the last few weeks.

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Mr Jenkins said: “That's quite common, we've had a lot of other heads and headless bodies found near kids' playgrounds or near a park where kids play. We also get a lot left on school grounds, usually primary or infant schools.

"It's a double whammy because it horrifies the children and it horrifies the parents because they're worried about the impact of seeing the body will have on the children.

"We've seen a lot of headless bodies or body parts of cats and foxes found in gardens on display in trampolines, probably because they're tall so it's obvious that kids live there so it'll definitely be seen by children.

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"We just have no idea how many times a body has been left on display, but not reported because someone disposes of it."

The Met Police said in an FOI in 2020 that there were "no signs of human involvement in any of the CCTV and no witnesses who witnessed any human involvement" in the roughly 400 cases examined.

Some CCTV footage that was found and viewed by police showed foxes rather than human involvement, the force said.


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