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‘Croydon cat killer’: Harpenden and Luton rabbit attacks ‘linked’

ElmoImage copyright Donna Leal
Image caption Grey rabbit Elmo was found in a flower bed in his owner’s garden in Harpenden

The mutilation and deaths of two pet rabbits could be the latest work of the so-called Croydon cat killer, according to animal lovers.

Grey rabbit Elmo was found in a flower bed in his owner’s garden in Longfield Road, Harpenden, on 8 November.

Another animal found in Luton was reported on Saturday.

Animal charity Snarl, which is investigating hundreds of violent UK cat and rabbit deaths, said both deaths were being linked to its probe.

The Met Police began investigating a series of “gruesome” killings which initially began in the Croydon area in 2015, under the name Operation Takahe, after Snarl (South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty) raised concerns. The suspect became known as the “Croydon cat killer”.

Of the latest deaths, Tony Jenkins, head of Snarl, said: “We’ve included them in the investigation because they’ve quite clearly been cut up by a human.

“Whether it’s the same person who has been killing cats, we can’t be certain, it’s impossible to tell if it’s one person being prolific or if there are more people involved.

“But if it turns out there is more than one person involved, we’re hoping to catch them all.”

The cat killer stalking suburbia

Hertfordshire Police said it could not confirm whether the death of Elmo was being linked to the wider inquiry but “several lines of inquiry” were being explored and a post-mortem examination would take place.

The animal’s head and front legs had been cut off.

Owner Donna Leal said: “I just can’t get over the fact that someone has climbed into our garden with a weapon and done this to our family pet probably while we were metres away in the house.

“I can’t sleep, I’m so scared they’ll come back.”

Bedfordshire Police has confirmed it has received a report about a dead rabbit found in Luton which is being linked to the wider investigation.

The Hertfordshire death follows a number of others in the area. Two weeks ago, the dismembered body of rabbit Teddy was found by his owner in his cage in her garden in Harpenden, and last week Snarl linked the death of Chip in Watford to the others.

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