An animal-lover has been left distraught after her cat went missing - only for the pet's headless body to turn up in her garden.
Susan Mansfield said her cat Bella was killed and then cut up after being taken from her home in Chelmsford.
Her 17-year-old daughter made the grisly discovery of the beheaded body in the garden on 20 October. A few days later, the cat's head was left in the same place.
Ms Mansfield, who was out of the country at the time, said she was now too scared to venture outside.
"Who would do that? I don't understand," asked the 57-year-old. "But I need something to happen from this. If someone has this type of behaviour [in them] I think they are a threat to the community.
"I don't know if they can do that to another animal or person. It has to be a very sick individual to do that."
Essex Police are investigating and visited the house soon after the cat's head was found.
Ms Mansfield, who has lived in the Chelmsford area for 20 years, said she could not understand why someone would commit such a cruel act.
She said: "On the Thursday, my 17-year-old daughter found her body in the garden and was hysterical. She called me to say they had placed Bella in the garden, looking like she was asleep. It took her a moment to realise her cat didn't have a head.
"[The neighbour] suggested she needs to be taken to the vet to be examined to get some evidence that it was a human who cut the head off. It did come back that it was one to two days before the head was cut off, and it was cut off after she died.
"I posted it on the lost cat page we have and other people started to come forward saying it has happened to them as well.
"Four days after the head was placed in the same spot. I phoned the police and they phoned me up later. They sent out an officer to my home. They saw some footprints in the back of the garden."
She added: "I am a quiet person, I have never complained about anyone in the neighbourhood and I know hardly anyone around here.
"Everyone is very friendly, and I don't have any issue with anyone. The only thing I can think of is if it's a pure hatred of cats - if she was meowing or something."
She said the experience had had a profound effect on both her and her daughter.
"My daughter felt very unsafe after this happened and wouldn't go out into the garden at night. I feel the same, I don't even want to go out into the garden anymore. I don't ever want to feel unsafe in my own garden."
Essex Police said Bella's death had been reported to the force.
"If anyone who has any information regarding this incident please contact us [on 101] and quote 0820 of 20 October 2022," said a spokesman.
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