The case of the M25 cat killer, who was thought to have struck several times in St Albans, has finally been solved.
Following an investigation led by the RSPCA, Met Police and animal charity SNARL, it’s now thought that a string of cat mutilations were carried out by foxes and other scavengers.
In 2016 SNARL arranged for 25 post-mortems on the bodies of cats discovered mutilated across London, Hertfordshire and other areas. 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.
Chief Inspector Stuart Orton, who led Operation Tupelo in Hertfordshire, said: “I am pleased we can now confirm that the reports relating to the bodies of cats and rabbits in Hertfordshire have been attributed to natural predation activity, and are not the work of a human hand.
“Our clear focus from the outset was to fully investigate the circumstances around each report on a case by case basis.
“By working closely with forensic experts, partners and colleagues, we have been able to eliminate the hypothesis that a person or persons were travelling the county and mutilating animals on a serial basis.
“As explained by our colleagues in the Metropolitan Police, the evidence suggests that the animals had been predated by foxes; in a rabbit’s case after being removed from a hutch, and in a cat’s case after death likely caused by a road traffic collision.
“I hope this conclusion brings comfort to pet owners who have, up until now, been frightened to let their animals out at night.”