‘Sadistic’ killer that beheads cats may do it to ‘get back at women’

Social media users HUNT for ‘Croydon Cat Killer’

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A killer who has decapitated hundreds of cats over the past eight years may be doing it as a “screwed up way to get back at women”, a mental health expert says. The person kills the animals by cutting off their heads and their tails and then leaves the bodies for the owners to discover near their homes.

In some cases, the head or the tail, or both, are taken away from the scene and these are then placed back at the location sometime later.

The culprit was first dubbed the Croydon Cat Killer and is now known as the UK Cat Killer because they have widened the area where killings take place.

Forensic psychologist Dr Naomi Murphy says it is likely that they enjoy knowing that what they have done will distress the cat owners.

Speaking to Express.co.uk she said: “There’s something quite creepy and sinister if you imagine that your cat was killed and then you come out and find its body displayed for you.

“I think that’s quite chilling. I think there’s a degree of menace about that for an owner that finds their cat in that way, and I think the person would know that and I think that would be quite intentional.

“There’s the pleasure in killing the animal and having the power over the animal and seeing the life drain out of it.”

She added: “[And] when it’s being left for the owner to find or for somebody to find, rather than just being discarded, that would suggest there is also the thrill of shocking the owner or the person who finds it.

“There’s a cold anger and I’m sure they think they are entitled to do this in some way, which is why I’m trying to think about the motive.

“They might feel bad afterwards but certainly in the moment they get a degree of pleasure out of this and knowing that it is going to be deeply upsetting to somebody.”

Dr Murphy, who developed a treatment programme for men considered previously to be “untreatable psychopaths”, says that the reasons for the killings are likely to be linked to trauma that the killer has experienced in their childhood.

And she says she thinks it is now like an addiction for the killer and they are unlikely to ever stop.

She added: “It does indicate quite a level of disturbance so even amongst people who are in prison for violent crimes they wouldn’t have all committed this kind of offence earlier on in life.

“You’re probably talking about a third of people who are known to be violent, because they have been convicted of it, admit to hurting animals during childhood.

“My experience is that the kind of behaviours that people present with often mirror the experience they had during childhood and so when somebody is engaging in acts of deliberate cruelty, that’s quite different from somebody using violence in an impulsive, lashing out, way because they can’t control themselves.

“That’s quite different to deliberately inflicting harm and so I think it would be someone who had experienced that themselves earlier on in life.

“I have wondered about the significance of cats. Cats can be associated with women, I think, it might be a stereotype but that stereotype’s there isn’t it – that it’s women that have cats.

“Quite often when people engage in an offending behaviour there is a wish to enact revenge, even when people’s behaviour looks like it is cold and calculated and separate from anything else, my experience is there’s always a reason and that’s usually a wish to get back at somebody in some kind of way.

“So, I do wonder if it’s a screwed-up way of getting back at women for rejecting them.”

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The Metropolitan Police ran an investigation into the killings, named Operation Takahe, from December 2015 until October 2018, when it concluded that foxes were to blame for the deaths.

But since then there have been around 300 other killings reported to South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty animal centre, the charity which was helping the Met with the investigation.

Dr Murphy backs up SNARL’s view that the killer is a person and is still out there.

She added: “For an act like this it would suggest they are sadistic, they enjoy having power over and hurting others

“I’d be surprised if they stopped, having done it for this amount of time.

“If they have been doing it since 2015 that would suggest a degree of addiction. They find it soothing to their own bodily systems to do this – there is a compulsion to do it.”

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