A security guard accused of stabbing 16 cats was spotted taking photographs at the scene of one of the attacks, a court has heard.
Steve Bouquet, 54, was seen acting suspiciously with his camera phone near to where nine-year-old tabby, Nancy, is thought to have suffered a knife wound to it torso.
Her owner Jeff Carter followed a trail of blood up the stairs of his Brighton home and found his stricken pet hiding under the bed. Nancy was rushed to a vets and operated on but went into cardiac arrest the following day and died.
Chichester Crown Court heard how a neighbour of Mr Carter has spotted a bald man, wearing a black leather jacket, taking photographs outside his home.
Craig Neeld said he saw the suspect looking at his phone before walking off. Minutes later he received a WhatsApp message from Mr Carter asking him to help with his cat, which was bleeding heavily from a wound to her side.
Mr Bouquet was later picked out of a police line up as the person who had allegedly been spotted taking photographs in the street.
In a statement read to court, Mr Neeld said: “He was looking all around as if he was checking to see if he was being observed.”
He then allegedly faced the cat owner’s house and appeared to be taking photos “low down on the floor” before walking off
Mr Neeld said he later saw a large puddle of blood on the ground outside the house.
He said: “He was definitely up to no good. I had a clear view of him despite it being dark.”
Mr Bouquet, a security guard at Churchill Shopping Centre in Brighton, is accused of killing nine cats and seriously injuring seven others between October 2018 and June 2019.
Samson was one of the cats stabbed but survived the ordeal
Credit: News Scans
The jury heard how one owner, Emma O’Sullivan, found her beloved cat, Gizmo, lying dead near a neighbouring flat in March 2019.
She said she had seen a pool of dark liquid on the doorstep, and when she had investigated further she found the black five-year-old cat dead with a single stab wound to her right shoulder.
She paid £713 for a post-mortem to be carried out and handed the findings of the examination to Sussex Police.
Another cat, Ollie, a much loved family pet, was found by cat sitter Rex Matthews lying in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor.
It had suffered a single stab wound to the right side of its abdomen which had shattered its ribs, punctured the lungs and left the liver and gallbladder hanging outside the body.
In a statement read to court, Mr Matthews said: “There was blood on hallway floor, blood on stairs and blood on the kitchen. I heard meowing coming from the kitchen. There was lots of blood on the floor and on the catflap. He was lying on the floor and seemed weak.
“There was more blood in the upstairs bedroom, round the fireplace and on the lower wall.”
The cat was rushed to a veterinarian (Suzanne Bailey) by Mr Matthews and an examination was carried out.
Owner Sarah Mckenzie, who was on holiday in Ireland with her family, was contacted and the vet consulted with her before the family decided to put Ollie to sleep.
Steven Bouquet has previously denied 16 counts of criminal damage and one count of possession of a knife
Credit: EDDIE MITCHELL
Earlier, Chichester Crown Court was told that in one month alone between October and November 2018, Bouquet allegedly stabbed seven cats (named Hannah, Wheatley, Alistair, Rigby, Gideon, Tommy and Samson). Two, Tommy and Hannah, died from their injuries.
Mr Bouquet, who is being tried in his absence, has been charged with 16 offences of criminal damage between October 2018 and June 2019, and also unlawfully possessing a Leatherman multi-tool in public.
He denies the charges and the trial continues.