Some £8,000 spent on post-mortems for suspected victims of ‘Croydon cat killer’

Some £8,000 spent on post-mortems for suspected victims of ‘Croydon cat killer’

December 20, 2018

A police force spent more than £8,000 on post-mortems alone to find the "Croydon cat killer" – which turned out to be foxes.

Scotland Yard’s three-year probe ended earlier this year after officers concluded foxes mutilated the pets and there was, in fact, no serial killer on the loose.

At one point, 15 officers were deployed in the hunt for the culprit – the M25 cat killer – and animal activists even put up a £10,000 reward for information.

Hundreds of cats were reported to have been decapitated and dismembered in and around Croydon, south London, since November 2015.

But now the force has admitted it spent £8,100 on post-mortem examinations during the probe, codenamed Operation Takahe.

The Freedom of Information request highlights how £6,000 was spent in 2016 alone.

A further £800 was splashed out on a re-examination of post-mortem examinations in 2018.

However the Met said was the cost of the laboratory only, with no charge for the pathologist’s time; and £1,300 on microscopic hair testing in 2018.

The Met estimated 2,250 police hours were spent on the probe, with two detectives and two constables on the investigation team at one stage.

But it stressed assigning officers to work on the investigation as a whole was much more efficient than having individuals on each case.

Amanda Pearson, Frontline Policing Commander, said: "The decision was made to allocate a large number of similar reports of mutilated cats to the officers who were investigating the initial spate of such allegations in Croydon. In particular, they were following up six suspicious cases identified by post-mortem examinations.

"While this increased the workload of those officers, it significantly reduced the resources that would have been required for different officers in different units to record and assess each allegation separately.

"It is this collating of reports that enabled officers to work with experts and reach the conclusion that no further police investigations are required into any of the allegations relating to mutilated cats."

In September, the force said it "took note of expert opinion" which highlighted how wildlife can be known to scavenge on roadkill, often removing limbs before dumping the corpse.

In three cases, CCTV footage showed foxes carrying cats’ lifeless bodies in their jaws.

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