The UK’s notorious ‘cat killer’ has beheaded a fox and dumped its chopped off head just a few feet from a children’s play area.
The discovery of the fox’s corpse at the playground in Mellows Park, Wallington, Surrey, has reignited fears that the maniac is spreading his ‘net’ and may attack people next.
Mutilated cats butchered by the killer have been found near children’s playgrounds in the past, say SNARL, the South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty group who are helping police in the hunt for the killer.
Disturbingly, it may mean the killer is sending out a message that humans – especially children – are vulnerable to his attacks.
SNARL spokesman Tony Jenkins said detectives have expressed fears in the past that the killer could switch from animal and human victims.
Placing the mutilated remains near a playground was ‘making a display’, he said.
‘It is disturbing families – they might have young children. This person cuts the head off and puts it on display.
‘He puts them near schools or children’s playgrounds. This is an attack to horrify and disgust humans.’
Three other victims killed this week were cats – one was found on Wednesday in Chessington, another on Tuesday in Northolt, the third was killed in Sompting, Sussex, at the weekend.
It follows horrific killings last week in Kenley near Croydon and in Hayes, where the mutilated body of a female cat had injuries around her head and tail identical to the killer’s 300 other victims over the last two years.
SNARL are also checking out reports of a mutilated cat found last week in Northampton to see if it’s yet another victim.
A £10,000 bounty has been put on the head of the killer in a bid to get help from the public to catch him.
The Metropolitan Police’s formal investigation into the deaths is codenamed Operation Takahe.
Last month, singer and former topless Page Three model Samantha Fox tweeted her 89,500 followers to say her cat, Maxi, had gone missing and asked everyone to keep a look out for him, fearing he may have fallen victim to the killer.
Six weeks ago the killer reacted to almost being caught by going on an enraged spree, brutally slaughtering at least seven beloved pets in just seven days.
Residents chased the shadowy figure of a man in his 40s with an acne-pocked face who ran off after ‘kissing’ noises to tempt cats were heard in the middle of the night in Caterham, Surrey.
In an apparent fury at almost being unmasked, the deranged maniac killed at least one cat a day in a week-long bloodbath.
He is said to be a white man in his 40s with short brown hair, dressed in dark clothing, possibly with acne scarring to his face. On his night-time prowls he’s thought to be wearing a headlamp or carrying a torch.
Tony Jenkins hopes that despite the latest deaths, the net is tightening.
It’s thought he’s gone on a killing spree to show he still ‘controls’ the situation and can strike whenever and wherever he likes.
But in his desperation, they hope he makes a slip and gets caught soon.
He has been seen at a number of locations with variously, a head lamp, a torch, a backpack and a large man bag, approaching cats with food and toys and making ‘kissing noises’.’
The charity is urging anyone with information about ‘a mutilated animal or body parts’ to contact the Metropolitan Police via 101 quoting Operation Takahe.
A recent TV documentary revealed that the attacker may have links to Addiscombe and ‘is likely to have fantasies about raping or killing humans’.
As well as cats, the deaths of deer, foxes and rabbits have been linked to the suspected serial animal killer.
In many cases, animals are found with heads cut off and recent incidents include a fox cub that was found mutilated at Caterham’s Tesco and cats being found decapitated in Reigate and Oxted.
The moggie-hating maniac’s butchering spree started off around Croydon, then spread out to the M25 and into other areas of southern England.
Psychologists helping police build up a profile of the killer fear he or she – though they believe it is a male – may switch from cats and start killing people.
Tony Jenkins said police have warned the killer shows the classic signs of a deranged psycho who might even be doing it for sexual kicks.
Tony said: ‘We think he gets off on putting the animals on display, preferably under the bedroom windows.
‘Worryingly, we’ve even had a few put next to school playgrounds where little children would be.
It looks like he kills the cats with blunt force trauma, waits for half an hour for the blood to stop circulating then cuts their heads off.
While most of the cat ripper’s victims have been in the Greater London area, victims with identical wounds have been discovered as far afield as Birmingham, Manchester and the Isle of Wight.
Snarl has begged owners to keep their cats in at night.
They also asked that anyone who finds a body bearing injuries to its head, legs, paws or tail, or has had any of these removed, should call the charity on 07961 030064 or 07957 830490 immediately.