Martin Clunes, the well-known British actor who stars as Dr Ellingham in Doc Martin, has weighed in to try and help solve the series of crimes dating back to 2008 of the mutilation and death of, primarily, cats but also other animals in the Croydon area of London.
Clunes has written a letter to the UK’s most senior police officer, Sir Bernard Hogan Howe, the Metropolitan police Commissioner encouraging him to find what is presumed to be an individual who has been described as the “Cat Ripper”.
This individual is suspected of torturing and dismembering cats in the south London borough. The South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty group say that more than 50 animals have been identified and they include rabbits, dogs and foxes although Clunes makes the point that at least 35 cats have been killed.
The classic argument that Martin Clunes puts forward in his letter is one that we know well namely that – and I’ll use his words:
“Research in psychology and criminology shows that people who commit acts of cruelty to animals don’t stop there – many of them move on to their fellow humans. That is a scary thought indeed.”
Mr Clunes makes the point that this long-standing matter is the stuff of nightmares and the local community is understandably distraught and frightened. He says that no one in the locale can feel safe while “this sick individual is on the loose.”
Mr Clunes goes on to write:
“I implore you to take every measure necessary, including re-examining all available CCTV footage, to apprehend this dangerous criminal. The safety of the entire community depends on it.”
This grisly affair, as mentioned, dates back to 2008. You would have hoped that over the intervening eight years the police would have advanced the matter a bit further because we are told that no arrest has been made thus far. I know it is difficult to catch individuals who torture and kill cats because it can be done surreptitiously without witnesses and therefore there is no evidence but over this period of time we would have hoped that some sort of evidence would have been found.
Recently, a cat named Maverick was found mutilated last week in Finchley, North London. On January 22, 2016, a cat called Leo was found dead in Sutton and an unidentified tabby cat was found dead in Streatham on January 19, 2016. I won’t harp on but in addition, recently, two cats were found beheaded in the Crystal Palace area of London on January 18. Then a cat named Amber was found dead in woodland last October and in the same month another cat called Ukiyo was found decapitated and dumped on someone’s doorstep.
PETA has offered a reward of £5000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction. Scotland Yard have confirmed that they are looking into reports received of two cats found beheaded in south London on January 20 and they are examining CCTV footage and making enquiries. At one time those investigating were unsure if a person was involved or whether the cats were prey to another animal but that theory has been sensibly discarded. All the evidence points to deviant human behaviour.
This story has been running for quite a considerable time both in the press and online media. We sincerely hope that the matter can be brought to an end and that the police force could prioritise their investigation if only for the simple reason that, as Mr Clune’s mentions, people are also at risk. Perhaps that will motivate them.