A former Royal Navy gunner who killed nine cats and injured another seven by stabbing them has been jailed for more than five years.
Steve Bouquet was sentenced at Hove Crown Court on Friday with some of the owners of the cats he killed there to see the 54-year-old imprisoned.
We want to hear from you: let us know what you think about this story and be part of the debate in our comments section below
At a glance: 5 key points
- The former Royal Navy gunner, who served for 22 years including in Northern Ireland and Iraq, appeared before the judge for the first time on Friday after not attending his trial.
- His spree in Brighton lasted between October 2018 and May 2019 before he was finally captured on CCTV set up by an owner of a dead cat.
- Bouquet 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.
- Judge Jeremy Gold QC said his behaviour was “cruel, it was sustained and it struck at the very heart of family life”.
What’s been said
“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.”
Victim Lucy Kenward
“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.”
Victim Andrea Williams
“It is important that everyone understands that cats are domestic pets but they are more than that. They are effectively family members.
“They are much loved by the adults and children who live with and care for them.
“Cats and all domestic animals are a source of joy and support to their owners, especially during lockdown.”
Judge Jeremy Gold QC
Bouquet was jailed for five years and three months.
In his police interview read out during his trial, Bouquet told officers that 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.
A message from the editor:
Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going.