AN INVESTIGATOR who tracked the Brighton Cat Killer believes he may have slain more pets as police reveal seven other alleged attacks.

Last month Steve Bouquet, 54, from Rose Hill Terrace, was found guilty of killing or injuring 16 cats in a spate of attacks that lasted over eight months.

Today, The Argus can reveal that Sussex Police sent a total of 23 cases to the Crown Prosecution Service - seven more than previously thought.

Boudicca Rising, who began tracking the Brighton Cat Killer after his first stabbing, said it was “highly likely” he was responsible for all 23.

The Argus: Investigators linked seven more attacks to Brighton Cat Killer Steve Bouquet, middle, but the CPS could not authorise charges Investigators linked seven more attacks to Brighton Cat Killer Steve Bouquet, middle, but the CPS could not authorise charges

Before police were involved Ms Rising spearheaded the investigation as part of Snarl, a campaign group aiming to catch a suspected, different animal killer.

She said: “As a result of our other investigation when cats were killed in Brighton we were notified.

“Speaking to vets, we knew straight away that the injuries were not the same as our investigation.

“Also, they were occurring in clusters; it was apparent early on we had a cluster of cases in Ditchling Rise and two other places.

“We knew by the second or third report that it was A, a human being, and B, separate to who we were looking for.”

Police were baffled and The Brighton Cat Killer was an invisible man until he was revealed by a single error.

A breakthrough in the gruesome mystery came when a CCTV system set up by an owner of a slain cat appeared to capture a fresh attack on camera.

Today we can reveal that after a complex investigation, police handed 23 cases to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Bouquet was then charged with 16.

Asked whether she believed the Brighton Cat Killer was responsible for all these attacks, Ms Rising said: “I would say there is a very high chance.

“The stab wounds matched the others, so it’s highly likely."

The Argus: Boudicca Rising Credit: Vice Boudicca Rising Credit: Vice

Bouquet is yet to be sentenced over the cats.

“I think it’s sad, but he’s unlikely to have got a harsher sentence for seven more cats,” Ms Rising said.

“I’d rather the case stuck and was not affected by cases that can’t be proved. It’s sad for the owners for their cats to not be acknowledged within the court process, but that’s how our legal system works.”

Bouquet was arrested on June 2, 2019, and a search of his house found a knife with cat DNA on the blade and his DNA on the handle.

They also found a number of images of live cats in various places around the city and one that showed a dead cat, Kyo, that had been killed in May that year.

He was bailed while investigations continued and police established that he was never out of the city at the times of the offences for which he was charged.

In those offences, they also found that when he had a period of leave from his work as a security guard, the attacks increased from one or two a month to several over the course of a week.

Police then handed 23 cases to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

“We have to submit compelling and irrefutable evidence for charges to be brought,” said a spokeswoman for Sussex Police.

“CPS were satisfied that 16 of these 23 cases were suitable for progression to court.”

Amid the height of Bouquet’s spree in 2019, devastated owners of stabbed pets told The Argus of their pain.

However, no charges were brought against Bouquet in some of these cases.

The Argus: Actor Terry Mynott believes Bouquet killed his catActor Terry Mynott believes Bouquet killed his cat

This included Terry Mynott, whose cat Bowser died three days after being “stabbed in the leg” in Springfield Road.

Mr Mynott said he believed his case was not one of the 23 brought to the CPS by the police.

He said: “There was no way I can prove it, but he did one the night before and did another the night after.

“You have to come down to the reality, we did not have cast-iron proof. If you’re going to catch him, it’s best to use the 16 they knew they could get him on.”

The Argus: Terry Mynott's cat Bowser Terry Mynott's cat Bowser

District crown prosecutor Sally Lakin, who successfully prosecuted Bouquet on all 16 counts, said: “We apply the same process to every case we look at in terms of whether or not we can authorise charges.

“We have to apply the code for Crown prosecutors and ensure that each individual offence meets that code.

“We do that by carefully considering the evidence presented to us, in this case by Sussex Police in relation to each allegation that was brought to our attention.

“Where there was sufficient evidence to charge, the charges were authorised.

“Where there was insufficient evidence, we could not authorise charges.

“So, for instance, in a lot of the charges that were authorised, we were able to place Mr Bouquet in date, time and location from the mobile phone data.

“There was CCTV evidence, for instance, of him attacking Hendrix, but some cases, unfortunately, did not meet the evidential test.”

A provisional date for sentencing has been set for July 30.