United Kingdom

Security guard, 53, denies being 'Brighton Cat Killer'

A security guard today denied charges after nine cats were killed in the Brighton area.

Steven Bouquet, 53, who is also accused over attacks that left seven other cats seriously injured, appeared in the dock at Brighton Magistrates' Court this morning.

Bouquet, of Brighton, is charged with 16 counts of criminal damage and one of possession of a knife.

Steven Bouquet (centre) is escorted away from Brighton Magistrates' Court this morning

Bouquet, 53, of Brighton, entered not guilty pleas to all 16 charges of criminal damage and also denied a single charge of possession of a knife

Prosecutor David Holman told the court that the attacks took place mostly at night.

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

Bouquet is charged with 16 counts of criminal damage and one of possession of a knife

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

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 (CPS) has said the criminal damage charges did not detract from the seriousness of the allegations.

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

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