#TheList Brendan Gaughan, born c. 1986, most recently of Mendip Road, Duston, Northampton NN5 – dismembered seven pet cats and left remains in plastic bags on their owners’ driveways
Serial arsonist and cat mutilator Brendan Gaughan was sentenced at Northampton Crown Court for a campaign of attacks across the town in the past two years.
Gaughan was caught after an overnight arson spree in June 2018 in which he caused at least £375,000 of damage that destroyed family cafe The Arc, three rough sleepers’ tents and a disused office.
But when he came to court, he asked that 15 other offences were taken into account when he was jailed – namely, a debauched series of cat mutilations and a string of arson attacks in Duston.
The court heard how between August and November 2017 Gaughan targeted and killed seven family pets across Northampton.
He claims the first two were out of ‘spite’ for the owners – but he found the attacks left him ‘satisfied’ and he went on to kill four more in the space of just 10 days.
Nearly every time, Gaughan would set out between 1am and 2am searching for cats, before encouraging them to come near.
He then strangled them, dismembered the bodies and left them on their owner’s driveways or front gardens in plastic bags for them to find.
- The body of Rusty was left in a bag on the owner’s doorstep in Northampton
- Cat Topsy was left outside the owner’s home in the Kingsley area
- Dead cat in a plastic bag was found in a garden in Chewton Close Duston
- Mutilated body of a cat was found in Duston
- Dismembered cat was discovered in Duston
- Dismembered cat was found in a plastic bag on a doorstep in Mendip Road
- Cat mutilated and left on car roof in Northampton
Prosecutor Matthew Rowcliffe QC said: “After doing it, he would feel satisfied for hurting [the families].
“But in November 2017, he ‘got bored of harming animals’ and turned his interests to starting fires.”
During an arson spree, Gaughan destroyed three tents, damaged the Outpost Café and its recycling bins and The Ark floating restaurant, both on Bedford Road, set fire to wheelie bins at the Edward Green Shoe Factory, a Vauxhall van and the Bray Learning and Development Centre at St Andrews Hospital.
In court today, the prosecutor shared something Gaughan said during a psychiatric assessment while he was in custody.
Mr Rowcliffe QC said: “[Gaughan] told his psychiatrist he had had thoughts of other kinds of offending, like entering women’s houses, raping them and killing them. He has never done this, but had had thoughts of doing it.”
Gaughan’s defence barrister, Mr Guy Williamson QC, told the judge: “He has expressed extreme regret and is ashamed of his actions, and understands the psychological, financial and physical harm and distress he has caused.
“This is a case of a man with mental health issues that feels isolated and vulnerable in the community in which he lives.
“He felt nothing towards the cats he was killing and he denies feeling any pleasure derived from these crimes.”
But His Honour Judge Roger Tregilgas-Davey said: “The starting of fires by you was deliberate. And in every case, you did nothing but watch. You failed to help extinguish them or alert emergency services.
“These were deliberate and persistent. When a fire did not take, you would make more effort to relight it.”
However, at sentencing, the judge did not rule Gaughan as ‘dangerous’ – and could only add three months to his jail term for the cat killings.
Judge Tregilgas-Davey said: “Any violence has been towards animals and not towards humans.
“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].”
Jailed for 44 months including just 3 months for killing the seven cats.