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NINE LIVES

Security guard charged after nine cats were killed in bloody eight month spree

COPS have charged a man with criminal damage after nine cats were killed in a bloody eight month spree.

Stephen Bouquet, 52, was arrested after a total of 16 pet cats were targeted and besides the nine fatalities, seven were left seriously hurt.

Cops have charged a man with criminal damage after nine cats were killed in a bloody eight month spree (file photo)
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Credit: Getty - Contributor Cops have charged a man with criminal damage after nine cats were killed in a bloody eight month spree (file photo) Credit: Getty-Contributor

The security guard was first held in June following a spate of attacks in Brighton, West Sussex, as part of an operation codenamed Diverge.

He will appear in court next month charged with criminal damage to the cats between October 2018 and June this year and possessing a knife in a public place.

In a statement the Crown Prosecution Service said: "Following a spate of attacks on cats in the Brighton area, the Crown Prosecution Service has authorised Sussex Police to charge Steven Bouquet with 16 charges of criminal damage, relating to attacks on 16 cats, nine of which were killed and seven were seriously injured.

`` The allegations relate to incidents which took place between 2 October 2018 and 1 June 2019. This is a complex case and this decision was made following a careful review of all of the evidence presented to us. ''

The CPS said criminal damage was a more appropriate charge than animal cruelty because the pets did not belong to Bouquet.

Earlier this year Detective Inspector Chris Thompson of Sussex police spoke about the impact of the cats' deaths.

He said: "We understand how distressing the deaths of these cats have been to both owners and organisations concerned with animal welfare and we are determined to establish what has happened to them in order to get answers for owners.

"Police resources have been used in the wider investigation in an attempt to establish exactly what has happened to these cats and we are working in partnership with an expert from the Royal Veterinary College to establish the cause of the deaths.

"We increased patrols in and around the areas that the cats have been injured or died, there have been house to house enquiries, we've viewed CCTV, taken statements from the owners and anyone who has found an injured or dead cat and continue to speak with anyone who has come forward with information about these incidents. "

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