- Steve Bouquet was for five years and three months for attacking 16 cats.
- Victims of Bouquet’s crimes told the court of their distress upon finding their dead cats on their doorsteps.
- Judge Jeremy Gold QC said this behavior was “cruel” and “struck at the very heart of family life.”
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A security guard who stabbed nine cats to death and injured seven has been jailed for more than five years after being convicted of 16 counts of criminal damage – to the cats – and one count of possession of a knife.
Steve Bouquet, 54, who became known as the Brighton Cat Killer, was captured on CCTV set up by an owner of a dead cat.
His killing spree in the resort town on the southern coast of England lasted from October 2018 to June 2019.
Several owners of dead cats were present at Hove Crown Court, where they recounted the scenes of finding their cats injured – or dead – on their doorsteps.
Bouquet was arrested after being caught on CCTV at the scene of one of the attacks.
During an investigation by Sussex police, a knife with feline blood on it and Bouquet’s DNA on the handle was found during a search of his home.
Data from his mobile phone placed him in the vicinity of many of the stabbings when they took place.
‘None of us can comprehend what drove him’
When sentencing Bouquet, Judge Jeremy Gold QC said this behavior was “cruel, it was sustained and it struck at the very heart of family life.”
Bouquet had previously told police that he was “no threat to animals” and plead not guilty to the charges.
However, the court heard from the prosecutor, Rowan Jenkins, that there was video footage of Bouquet stroking a cat – Hendrix, a kitten – and then making a “sudden jerk.”
“This is the moment we say that the defendant stabs Hendrix with some force,” Jenkins told the court.
Nine-month-old Hendrix was able to run from the scene, but – bleeding heavily from a single knife wound – later died of his injuries.
The BBC report that Emma Sullivan, a victim of Bouquet’s crimes, told the court she had found her cat Gizmo lying dead on the pavement by her front door.
“I was completely distraught. I was wailing in tears, completely inconsolable,” she said.
Catherine Mattock, another victim, also spoke to the jury and said she could not stop thinking about her cat, Alan, “dead but warm in my arms, covered in blood.”
Jayne Cioffi from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: “This has been a tragic case for all the owners involved. Not only did Steve Bouquet inflict horrendous suffering to each of the animals he attacked, but he also caused real trauma to their owners, many of whom found their beloved pets injured and bleeding.
“None of us can comprehend what drove Bouquet to do this to family pets.”