Security guard Steve Bouquet locked up for five years after killing nine cats and injuring seven others
A security guard who knifed cats to death in a string of night-time attacks has been jailed for more than five years.
Steve Bouquet, 54, stabbed 16 cats between October 2018 and May 2019 during a spree in Brighton.
He was only stopped when he was finally captured on CCTV set up by an owner of a dead cat.
Bouquet, dubbed the “Brighton cat killer”, was convicted last month of 16 offences of criminal damage in relation to the cats, and possession of a knife.
Nine cats – Hendrix, Tommy, Hannah, Alan, Nancy, Gizmo, Kyo, Ollie and Cosmo – were killed while another seven were injured.
Owners of some of the cats were at Hove Crown Court on Friday to see the 54-year-old imprisoned.
Victim Lucy Kenward fought back tears as she said she still could not understand why someone would kill cats.
La hun til: “Cosmo was my first cat as an adult. I had him for eight years before he was killed.
“I never thought he would end up being murdered by a person. It still seems quite unbelievable.”
Ms Kenward said she spent more than £5,000 on vet bills in the hopes of saving her beloved Cosmo, but he died with a stab wound.
Andrea Williams told the court how she was “inconsolable” after her cat Wheatley went missing.
Hun sa: “I cried myself to sleep every night for ages.
“This went on for three months until his body was finally discovered in a neighbour’s garden. He had been 10 metres from the house all along.
“We had what was in essence a murderer walking the streets with a knife and intent to harm and kill.”
Ms Williams said the loss of her cat led her to sell her Brighton home “just to get away”.
During the trial, jurors heard accounts from several cat owners who had found their pets bleeding on their doorsteps.
Sentencing Bouquet, Judge Jeremy Gold QC said his behaviour was “cruel, it was sustained and it struck at the very heart of family life”.
He was jailed for five years and three months.
In his police interview read out during his trial, Bouquet told officers all he knew about the cat killings was what he had read in the newspapers and online.
He told police he was “no threat to animals” – but a photo of a dead cat was found on his phone, the court heard.
A knife, with feline blood on it and his DNA on the handle, was found during a search of his home, while mobile phone evidence placed him in the vicinity of many of the stabbings during the time they took place, the Crown Prosecution Service said.
Jayne Cioffi from the 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. His claims that it was simply chance that he was present at various times when the animals were attacked were rightly dismissed by the jury after being disproved by the investigation and prosecution work.”
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