Martin Clunes has joined forces with animal rights group PETA to urge the police to step up action to catch a person who has been grotesquely killing cats in south London.
The so-called Cat Ripper of Croydon (opens in new tab) has dismembered around 35 cats in the London borough over the past two years.
The Doc Martin star wrote to the head of Scotland Yard, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe: "As someone who shares my home with several four-legged companions, I read with horror that some of the cats had been decapitated or dismembered – this is the stuff of nightmares... The local community is understandably distraught and frightened. No one feels safe while this sick individual is on the loose."
Martin went to school in Croydon and recently played Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in Arthur & George (opens in new tab), an ITV series about a supposed horse mutilator.
PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that 'animals are not ours to abuse in any way' – has offered a £5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator. Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999
Martin Clunes' full letter:
Dear Sir Hogan-Howe,
Like countless others, I am shocked that at least 35 cats are thought to have been massacred around the borough of Croydon. As someone who knows the area well and shares a home with many four-legged companions, I read with horror that some of the cats had been decapitated and dismembered – this is the stuff of nightmares. The local community is understandably distraught and frightened. No one feels safe while this sick individual is on the loose.
As you likely know, mental-health professionals and top law-enforcement officials consider animal abuse to be a red flag. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation use reports of animal abuse to analyse the threat potential of suspected and known criminals. Experts agree that it is the severity of the behaviour – not the species of the victim – that matters.
Acts of cruelty to animals are not mere indications of a minor personality flaw – they are symptomatic of a deep mental disturbance. 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 scar thought indeed.
Because repeat crimes are the rule rather than the exception among animal abusers and given the malicious nature of these crimes, 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.
Thanks for your consideration. I can be reached via PETA’s Kate Smith at KateSmith@peta.org.uk.
Martin Clunes, on behalf of PETA
Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix.
An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.
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