A decapitated cat in Portsmouth has been linked to the Croydon cat killer, who is believed to be responsible for 230 animal deaths.
The beheaded cat was found in Marmion Road, Southsea, on April 16, with two more victims found dead in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
One cat was discovered in Atlanta Close, Southsea, on April 3, and the other in Avenue Road, Sandown, Isle of Wight, on July 22 last year.
Tony Jenkins, co-founder of the Croydon-based South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty (Snarl), said: “The post-mortems carried out thus far does suggest one person.
“It’s not something that would be easy to copycat.
“If you ask five people to cut off the head of a cat they’d probably do it five different ways and what we’re finding is that it’s always consistent.
“What we haven’t had is two murders on the same day with any kind of geographical distance.
“We’ve had two bodies on the same day but one was fresh, so to speak, and one was a day or two old. It’s not so much when the cats are found, because sometimes they may not be found for a day or two.”
Snarl, which has been keeping track of the deaths, is advising London cat-owners to keep their pets indoors at night, as most of the deaths happen after dark.
Mr Jenkins said: “The killer does go back to areas where he has been successful.
“There are body parts missing. When he cuts the heads and tails off cats they’re not found with the body.
“We’ve recovered a few that have been basically placed in other people’s gardens not far.”
An inquiry into the cat killer was launched in December 2015, and the Metropolitan Police said in June last year it had already spent 1,020 hours investigating the deaths.
A Hampshire Police spokesman said: “We believe these incidents may be linked to Operation Takahe, a series of cat deaths in the Croydon/M25 area, and is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police Service.”
Snarl’s co-founder, Boudicca Rising, said that from the post-mortem of the Isle of Wight victim, called Fleabags, it seems different weapons had been used.
Ms Rising said they had received reports of 230 deaths from all over the country, including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Brackley in Northamptonshire, and Maidstone in Kent.
Ms Rising said: “We are keeping an eye on it in case the killer was on holiday and didn’t have access to their normal toolkit.
“It doesn’t matter where you are in the country, we want to hear about it.”
Contact Snarl on 07961 030064 or 079578 30490.