A British man was sentenced to more than five years in prison Friday for running a month-long cat killing campaign in a coastal town.

A judge at Hove Crown Court in southern England convicted Steve Bouquet, a 54 -year-old former security guard, to five years and three months in prison for killing nine cats and injuring seven others in the Brighton resort, (CPS) said.

Their owners, some of whom attended the verdict, told the jury, how they found their cats bleeding on their doorstep after the knife attacks.

Judge Jeremy Gold said the Bouquet rampage between October 2018 and June 2019 was “cruel, it became persistent and hit the heart of family life”.

The charge of property damage instead of cruelty to animals was chosen because Bouquet did not own the animals. It also carries a higher penalty, the CPS said.

Bouquet, a former navy seaman, operated mostly at night and the police initially struggled to find clues.

He was then caught by CCTV after the Owner of the first cat killed had set up a camera in front of their house.

The video images showed Bouquet approaching a cat and stabbing it out of its backpack with a knife.

The cat ran back to her house and died later, but the owners followed a trail of blood and discovered the camera, The Times reported.

Two days later, the owner of the footage discovered Bouquet on the street and called the police.

It remained unclear what Bouquet was for After the police found that he was looking on his laptop for videos of dogs attacking cats.

“None of us can understand what made Bouquet do this with family pets”, said Jayne Cioffi, an h Senior Prosecutor of the Crown.

Bouquet protested his innocence at a police interview read out during his trial, but police found a photo of one of the dead cats on his cell phone.

A knife with cat blood was found in his home found, and his phone data linked him to the times and locations of other murders, the CPS said.

The judge said at the trial that the true number of cats attacked could have been much higher.

The attacks caused widespread horror in the UK, where around 24 percent of adults own a cat, according to veterinary organization PDSA.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published via a syndicated feed.)

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