Security guard denies charges after nine cats killed in spate of night-time attacks

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Steve Bouquet leaving Brighton Magistrates' Court after denying 16 counts of criminal damage over attacks in Brighton on cats (PA)

A security guard has denied a series of charges after nine cats were killed in a spate of nighttime attacks in the Brighton area.

Steve Bouquet, of Rose Hill Terrace, Brighton, is also accused over attacks that left seven other cats seriously injured.

The 53-year-old appeared in the dock at Brighton Magistrates' Court on Thursday morning charged with 16 counts of criminal damage and one of possession of a knife.

Bouquet, centre, leaves Brighton Magistrates' Court after appearing on 16 counts of criminal damage (PA)

The charges follow a spate of attacks on cats around the city, which the prosecutor David Holman said took place mostly at night.

Wearing a black leather jacket over a white shirt, Bouquet appeared before a courtroom packed with public and press.

He entered not guilty pleas to all 16 charges of criminal damage and also denied a single charge of possession of a knife.

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District judge Tessa Szagun told him the charges were so serious that they must be dealt with at a crown court.

Bouquet was bailed to appear at Lewes Crown Court for a hearing on February 20.

The Crown Prosecution Service has said the criminal damage charges did not detract from the seriousness of the allegations.

Bouquet, right, is also accused over attacks that left seven other cats seriously injured (PA)

The charges relate to incidents between 2 October 2018 and 1 June 2019.

Cats and other animals are considered as property under legislation, and criminal damage can attract a heavier sentence than animal cruelty.

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