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Northampton cat killings add to concern about reach of culprit

Latest discovery of two mutilated cats on their owners’ doorsteps raises suspicions killer may be operating nationwide

The discovery of two dismembered cats in bags on their owner’s doorsteps in Northampton has added to concern that an animal killer who has eluded police for almost two years may be operating nationwide.

Northamptonshire police have contact their colleagues in London, where Met officers are investigating a spate of cat killings in recent months.

The latest incident occurred on 7 September, when the owners of 15-year-old Topsy found the mutilated animal outside their front door on Brookfield Road in Kingsley.

A teenage girl had previously found the cat Rusty dumped in plastic bag on her doorstep with its ears, head and limbs cut off. The family’s other cat survived being set on fire a couple of days earlier.

South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty (Snarl), a south London charity, said the two new killings “bore wounds indicative of the UK animal killer”.

The first description of a suspected serial cat killer was released at the end of last month.

Based on witness accounts of three recent cat killings in Caterham in Surrey, Snarl said the suspect was a white male in his 40s with dark brown hair and possible acne scarring.

He was referred to as the Croydon cat killer after a spate of killings in south London, but Snarl has urged people to stop using the term after similar attacks in Manchester, Birmingham, Brighton and the Isle of Wight.

The charity’s concerns led the Met to launch Operation Takehe in 2015 to track down the culprit. He has been seen approaching cats with food and toys and making “kissing noises” at a number of locations.

Northamptonshire police said officers had “been in contact with the Met as part of their on-going investigation into cat deaths, to see if these are in any way linked”.

A Met spokesman said its officers would “assess the latest report to see if it is linked to the cases already established as part of the ongoing investigation led by police in Croydon”.

Tony Jenkins, the head of Snarl, said that about 250 cats had been killed in similar circumstances since October 2015.

The animal charities Peta UK and Outpaced are offering a reward of £10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible.

Members of the public are asked to contact police and quote Operation Takahe if they encounter the suspect.