The UK Cat Killer could expand his depraved spree to target humans, the detective in charge of the investigation has warned.
Detective Sergeant Andy Collin of the Metropolitan Police said although there is currently no direct evidence of a risk to humans, he fears the killings could escalate if the killer ceases getting gratification from mutilating animals.
"There is a known link between serial killers and harming animals when you look into their dark history," DS Collin told Sky News.
The killer is believed to be responsible for more than 360 attacks on a variety of animals since October 2015, mutilating and displaying his victims near their owners' homes.
DS Collin said: "If you look at offending patterns the assumption is this killer is getting some form of gratification.
"The concern is they will cease getting that gratification and escalate the attacks to humans, specifically vulnerable women and girls."
DS Colling leads Operation Takahe, the Met's long-running investigation into the killings, which works closely with animal rescue organisation South Norwood Animal rescue and Liberty (SNARL).
The killer began his spree in Croydon, where SNARL played a key role in bringing the attacks to national attention, before expanding to other parts of the country.
In August 2017, SNARL issued the first description of the suspect. He is described as a white man in his 40s, between 5 ft 8 and 5 ft 11 and of average build with short brown hair and some acne scarring to his face.
A £10,000 reward has been offered for information leading to his arrest and conviction.
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