A security guard who knifed cats to death in a string of attacks has been jailed for more than five years.

Steve Bouquet embarked on a pet stabbing spree in Brighton, England between October 2018 and June 2019.

He was finally captured on CCTV set up by an owner of a dead cat.

Owners of some of the stabbed cats were at Hove Crown Court today to see the 54-year-old imprisoned for 16 attacks in Brighton.

Bouquet was convicted last month of 16 offences of criminal damage, in relation to the cats, and possession of a knife.

Nine cats - Hendrix, Tommy, Hannah, Alan, Nancy, Gizmo, Kyo, Ollie and Cosmo - were killed while another seven were injured.

During the trial, jurors heard accounts from several cat owners who had found their pets bleeding on their doorsteps.

Sentencing Bouquet, Judge Jeremy Gold QC said his behaviour was "cruel, it was sustained and it struck at the very heart of family life".

He was jailed for five years and three months.

In his police interview read out during his trial, Bouquet told officers that all he knew about the cat killings was what he had read in the newspapers and online.

He told police he was "no threat to animals" - but a photo of a dead cat was found on his phone, the court heard.

Speaking to the PA news agency, district crown prosecutor Sally Lakin said the case was "highly unusual" with cats being attacked at a rate she had never seen before.

She said: "When we deal with cases that concern injuries or death to animals it's usually the actual owner being responsible for inflicting suffering on their own animal, but of course this was a very different case.

"Steve Bouquet preyed on a large number of cats from his local area and inflicted horrendous harm and suffering on them and a great deal of trauma to their owners, who ultimately discovered their cats injured."

After arresting Bouquet, British police were able to use mobile phone data to link his movements to many of the attacks.

But even now, nearly three years after the first attack in October 2018, the motives behind his offending remain a mystery.