Tuesday 22 June 2021

Trial of Steve Bouquet the 'Brighton Cat Killer' who allegedly stabbed 16 cats

Steve Bouquet, 54, from Brighton is on trial for the "murder" by stabbing of 9 domestic cats and seriously injuring a further 7. He was described as the "Brighton Cat Killer". His spree of serial 'murders' came to an end when he was allegedly filmed by a security camera attacking a 9-month-old black kitten called Hendrix was sitting on a wall near his home. 

Bouquet the devil incarnate
Bouquet the devil incarnate. Image: MikeB based on pic by GARETH FULLER/PA

UPDATE JUNE 30, 2021
: He has been found guilty 16 offences of criminal damage, in relation to the cats, and possession of a knife. Judge Jeremy Gold QC said: 

“I suggest it is only really during lockdown it has been particularly clear how much many of us who have pets rely on them for companionship and comfort. One can only imagine the distress that was caused to the owners of those various cats in this case at the very thought of having a knife plunged into their beloved pet.”

Please read. The page has been continually updated....

The camera had been installed by the owner of another cat who had been stabbed and who died subsequently, Hannah, in October 2018. The attacks took place between October 2018 to June 2019. The court papers named the cats, either killed or injured as: Hendrix, Tommy, Hannah, Alan, Nancy, Gizmo, Kyo, Ollie, Cosmo, Alistair, Wheatley, Rigby, Samson, Jasper, Maggie and Gideon. There are some harrowing tales from the cats' owners. 

Dail Mail list of killings by the Brighton Cat Killer
Dail Mail list of killings by the Brighton Cat Killer.

Carolyn Green, found her short-haired tabby cat Tommy lying on her doorstep at 6:15 pm when a neighbour told her that she thought Tommy had been hit by a car. He had been let out 'a few minutes earlier'. He was severely injured. She picked him up and noticed blood on her T-shirt. She rushed him to the veterinarian who reported that he had been stabbed. Green was shocked to learn that Tommy had suffered a 4 cm cut. He died despite the veterinarian's best efforts.

The alleged 'Brighton Cat Killer' Steve Bouquet on trial for 12 cat 'murders' by stabbing
The alleged 'Brighton Cat Killer' Steve Bouquet on trial for 9 cat 'murders' by stabbing and 7 seriously injured. Photo: Eddie Mitchell.

In the trial the prosecuting barrister, Mr Jenkins, said that in the video footage you can see a passerby (allegedly Bouquet) stop and show affection towards Hendrix. But then Bouquet takes something out of his rucksack and you see a sudden jerking action from his arm which is the moment that he allegedly stabbed Hendrix with force.

Hendrix immediately sits up and runs back to his home. He was stabbed through both his kidneys and although he was rushed to a veterinarian his life was lost and he died later.

Bouquet returned minutes later to look at the CCTV camera which had filmed the incident and indeed he returns again repeatedly during the following 2 days indicating a concern that he'd been filmed.

Kyo one of the cats allegedly killed by Bouquet
Kyo one of the cats allegedly killed by Bouquet. Picture supplied by owner. RIP Kyo.

Hendrix's owner, Stuart Montgomery, learned about the video footage and approached his neighbour to view it. And then 2 days later Bouquet walked past on the same street and was filmed by the same camera live. Mr Levy (Hannah's owner) immediately called the police who had been investigating the matter for about 12 months. They turned up and thankfully stopped Bouquet a few streets away. They searched him and found a Leatherman multi-tool which I presume contained the knife. There was feline DNA on the blade. He was arrested and taken into custody and charged with the series of stabbings.

Bouquet's technique, as recorded in the video, was to befriend indoor-outdoor cats who were wandering around the streets near their homes. Once he had befriended them, he immediately stabbed them with force causing severe injuries. Sometimes the cat survived but often they didn't.

One of the cats allegedly stabbed by Bouquet
One of the cats allegedly stabbed by Bouquet. Pic in public domain.

It was obvious by veterinarians that the cats that they'd treated had been stabbed by a sharp knife. They knew that somebody was inflicting the injuries deliberately. This is quite different to a somewhat similar case which occurred in Croydon, London, UK and which spread across the UK, in which cats were being mutilated. It was decided by the police that it was foxes attacking and killing cats. That conclusion was disputed by the cat owners by the way.

Of course, when a person such as the accused stabs a dozen cats with the intention of killing them, it is also emotionally stabbing the cats' owners. There is a huge amount of emotional trauma. In addition, there is a huge amount of financial expenditure in veterinary bills but that is beside the point in terms of this man's guilt.

At the moment this is an allegation against Steve Bouquet and the old adage applies: he is innocent until proven guilty. The evidence is strong. I expect him to be proved guilty. I expect and hope that he receives a severe sentence but historically crimes against cats are treated too leniently in the British courts.

Bouquet is not attending his trial. He is therefore being tried in his absence at Chichester Crown Court. That is highly unusual but it seems disdainful of him to behave like this. It is more likely, however, that he will be found guilty. Perhaps he has foreseen the outcome and is demonstrating a kind of bravado about it.

Update June 25, 2021: Steve Bouquet is on trial at the moment. I can confirm that he is not attending this trial but it is strange that we are seeing all these photos of him apparently outside a court. We are, therefore, getting information from the court about his modus operandi. He apparently liked to take photographs with his camera phone of the places where he either planned to commit the crimes or had committed them. For example, he was seen acting suspiciously near to where Nancy, a 9-year-old tabby suffered a stab wound to her torso.

His trial is at Chichester Crown Court and the jury heard how Mr Carter, a cat owner, had seen Bouquet taking photographs outside his home. Also, Craig Neeld, saw him looking at his phone and walking off. Soon afterwards he received a message from Mr Carter on his smartphone asking him for help with this cat who was bleeding heavily from a wound.

The predicted outcome is that he will be found guilty. I think he has accepted it. He seems disinterested. Strangely, The Times reports today June 26th, that he said that he liked cats when interviewed by police. He had snaps of a black male cat on his phone. This might have been Hendrix.

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