True Crime: The Croydon Cat Killer Unmasked

A little late, I’ll grant. In fact, by now the bandwagon has already been driven into the ground, broken up for parts and those parts used to make another bandwagon. But I’m finally doing a ‘True Crime’ blog, just like everyone else.

OK, I’m not really.

I had at one point intended doing a series on the notorious, enigmatic Croydon Cat Killer. In fact, I already had a suspect well and truly in the frame and I was all set to pull the trigger on this explosive revelation when the damn boys and girls at the MET blew my story out of the water. Bastards. Have they now care for the hardworking, under-rewarded nature blogger?

For those of you unaware of the facts, they are thus (roughly):

  • Beginning around 2015 reports started to come in of someone decapitating and mutilating kitties and putting their heads on display in the Croydon area.
  • Shortly after this, the charity SNARL – South Norwood Animal Rescue Liberty (yes, they really were working hard to make that acronym work) – started diverting their resources from rescuing poor dawgs and kitties to tracking and catching the ‘Croydon Cat Killer’. Those resources grew accordingly.
  • The kill count rose to a barely creditable 400.
  • The ‘Croydon Cat Killer’ became the UK Animal Killer (or variation thereof) as SNARL started to pull in records from further afield and lump them all in.
  • The MET set up Operation Takahe to track the killings, but allowed SNARL to remain in place effectively ‘triaging’ cases.

The profile of the Cat Killer and his kill count continued to grow at an alarming rate from 2015-2018. At the same time, the profile and resources of SNARL continued to grow. The cynical amongst you may pick up on a common theme.

25 autopsies performed back in 2016 at SNARL’ behest returned a verdict of blunt force trauma with 6 showing signs of post-mortem mutilation by a ‘sharp instrument’, but no definite indication what that instrument was or who or what wielded it. Still, it was enough to whip up enough hysteria that Martin Clunes – Martin Clunes! – found it incumbent on himself to ask just what the effity heck the MET were doing not investigating.


So the MET investigated. And now, after 3 years of fever-pitch scaremongering (the sign photographed here is pretty ubiquitous around my part of south London), they’ve said enough is enough. If you check out their official press release, it is, in its own way, quite excoriating.

There was no evidence that any of the cats had been killed by a human, however media reports of a ‘Croydon Cat Killer’ or an ‘M25 Cat Killer’ led to widespread public concern about cats being harmed and subsequently many more allegations were received.

The investigation took almost three years, due to the number of reports and allegations received from the public and the need to work with specialists to scrutinise any evidence.

The RSPCA are respected professionals who work alongside Met Police colleagues where situations require a response from both organisations.

Again, if you’re as cynical as me, there’s common theme developing here.

The MET concluded that the cause of death in most cases was good old-fashioned RTA with post-mortem ‘mutilation’ by foxes. They even recovered CCTV footage of foxes carrying dead cats and in one case carrying a cat head and ‘placing’ it in a garden. The MET mainly suggested scavenging, but it’s likely some of these cats were killed by foxes, too.

But foxes can’t be the bad guys, of course. SNARL reject the MET’s findings (as their profile dictates they must). And we continue to get asinine stuff like the below from people who should know better and irrelevant anecdotal stories about how their nan’s sister’s house-sitter once saw the cat ‘playing’ with a fox, so they’re alright in their book.

It makes you wonder if people would be happier if there really was a lunatic out there chopping up cats.