Why did Northampton cat killer only get three months for mutilation of seven family pets?

A charity has called a jail sentence handed to the Northampton cat killer a 'slap in the face' to the families who were targeted and is calling for a change in UK law.

Brendan Gaughan was jailed at Northampton Crown Court yesterday (December 13) for a spree of offences in the past two years - including the twisted killing and mutilation of seven family pets.

Brendan Gaughan, 32, butchered seven cats in Northampton in 2017.

Brendan Gaughan, 32, butchered seven cats in Northampton in 2017.

In nearly every case, the 32-year-old strangled the cats he caught, butchered them and left them in plastic bags on the owners' front driveways or gardens for them to find.

At court yesterday, Gaughan was jailed for 44 months in total, which was predominately for an overnight arson spree committed on June 24 this year that caused hundreds of thousands of pounds of damage.

But the judge said he was unable to sentence the killer for more than three months over the cat mutilations, because of limitations in UK law.

His Honour Judge Roger Tregilgas Davey said: "In regard to the cat mutilations... I want to make it clear they are they are distasteful. They are distressing. I do not lose sight of that. But any sentence I can impose is limited no matter how many [you killed]."

Rusty the cat was just one of the seven family pets Gaughan killed and mutilated.

Rusty the cat was just one of the seven family pets Gaughan killed and mutilated.

In fact, the cat killings were entered as charges of 'criminal damage to property' - and not, for example, as an instance of animal cruelty.

They included 15-year-old Topsy, who was found mutilated outside his owners' home in September 2017.

There was also Rusty, who was found by a teenage girl after he had been dumped in a plastic bag after Gaughan butchered him in the night.

Now, a UK charity has called the sentence in regards to the cat killings 'a disgrace'.

He was jailed for 44 months in total. But only three of those were for killing seven cats.

He was jailed for 44 months in total. But only three of those were for killing seven cats.

Boudicca Rising, co-founder of South Norwood Animal Rescue and Liberty (SNARL) said: "Three months is not an adequate sentence for what the cats endured and what the families endured.

"[Gaughan's] prosecution is a welcome development and we hope that it provides the owners and victims of his other crimes with a sense of justice and closure.

"However, the fact that he only received three months for the strangulation, mutilation and display of the cats is a slap in the face to the families who have had to experience the loss of their beloved animals to such a brutal and twisted killer. The law needs an urgent review.

"We call ourselves a nation of animal lovers but the law does not reflect that when mutilating cats does not carry the severe punishment that it should."

The complete list of the cat killings recorded in Northampton in 2017 included:

• 28 August: The body of Rusty was left in a bag on the owner's doorstep in Northampton

• 6 September: Cat Topsy was left outside the owner's home in the Kingsley area

• 4 October: A dead cat in a plastic bag was found in a garden in Chewton Close Duston

• 7 October: Mutilated body of a cat was found in Duston

• 13 October: Dismembered cat was discovered in Duston

• 14 October: Dismembered cat was found in a plastic bag on a doorstep in Mendip Road

• 18 November: Cat mutilated and left on car roof in Northampton