The Metropolitan Police announced on Thursday, September 20, they had ruled out a person being responsible for the slaughter and mutilation of hundreds of cats in the Croydon area and within the perimeter of the M25 motorway which encircles London.
"Following a thorough examination of the available evidence, officers working alongside experts have concluded that hundreds of reported cat mutilations in Croydon and elsewhere were not carried out by a human and are likely to be the result of predation or scavenging by wildlife," said the police in a statement.
— London 999 Feed (@999London) 20 September 2018
The media was full of stories of the 'Croydon Cat Killer' or the ‘M25 Cat Killer' and animal lovers urged the police to find the culprit.
Headless Cat Bodies Found
In November 2015 police began an investigation after mutilated cats, often found with their heads and tails removed, were found in Croydon and other parts of south London.
"The decision was made to allocate a large number of similar reports of mutilated cats to the officers who were investigating the initial spate of such allegations. In particular, they were following up the six suspicious cases identified by the post-mortem examinations," said Frontline Policing Commander Amanda Pearson.
"While this increased the workload of those officers, it significantly reduced the resources that would have been required for different officers in different units to record and assess each allegation separately," she added.
In 2016 South Norwood Animal Rescue League arranged 25 post-mortem examinations on cats that had been found mutilated.
A veterinary pathologist said they had mostly died after being hit by cars and the mutilations had taken place after death but he suspected some had been carried out with a sharp implement.
— Justin Davenport (@_jdavenport) 20 September 2018
This caused the Met to deem six of the deaths as suspicious
While investigating these six cases police collated reports of 400 cat deaths.
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.
Commander Pearson said they eventually reached the conclusion there was no human cat killer.
"No evidence of human involvement was found in any of the reported cases. There were no witnesses, no identifiable patterns and no forensic leads that pointed to human involvement. Witness statements were taken, but no suspect was identified," said the police.
CCTV footage of three of the deaths showed foxes carrying away feline body parts.
Urban foxes have become commonplace in London in the last 30 years.
In April 2017 a woman in north London found footage on her CCTV camera of a fox carrying her pet cat's head into her garden.
Dr. Henny Martineau, the Head of Veterinary Forensic Pathology at the Royal Veterinary College, carried out post-mortem examinations on three cats and two rabbits in June 2018 and concluded foxes were probably responsible for mutilating the bodies of the cats.
Police in Croydon met with SNARL and the RSPCA on Thursday to explain their conclusions and all the cases will be recorded as "no crime."