Dead cat hung on church flagpole in New Forest village

The animal was found at St Peter's Church in Bramshaw in the New Forest on Monday. Credit: Google Maps

Police are investigating after a dead cat was found tied to a church flagpole in the same village which has been targeted by "occult" animal attacks.

The animal was found at St Peter's Church in Bramshaw in the New Forest, Hampshire, on Monday (12 December) morning.

The discovery comes after a dead fox was also found on the church door step about two weeks earlier.

Reverend David Bacon said the incidents had "unsettled" local residents, but said it was unclear whether they were linked to previous animal deaths from nearly three years ago.

In January 2020, police investigated three sheep deaths as well as the killing of a ewe which had been stabbed to death with a cross made of hay and a broken pitchfork placed next to it in Kewlake Lane, Cadnam.

A sheep and two cows were also attacked as well as Satanic symbols painted on the door of St Peter's Church in November, 2019.

A 41-year-old man from Winchester was subsequently arrested on suspicion of six counts of criminal damage in relation to these incidents, but was later released while police investigations continued.

Rev Bacon said: "A fox was found on the church doorstep a couple of weeks ago and then a cat was found hanging from the flagpole.

"I can't see that it's anything against the church as a local thing, as far as we know we don't have any enemies.

"I don't know what they're having ago. The difference with the sheep two years ago is that it was very obviously someone who had Googled it and knew what they were doing, it was like a professional job really.

"Whereas this, there was no symbolism, no nothing, so this one is a mystery really."

He added: "It is unsettling, it's pretty traumatic for the poor people that found it and people are unsettled, because it's just so random, it's not part of a pattern, it's not what you want to happen."

He said: "We are all guarding our cats very carefully."

A Hampshire police spokesman said: "We can confirm that we have received a report from a member of the public regarding a suspicious incident at St Peter's Church on Judds Hill. It is reported that around 7am on December 12, a deceased cat was found tied to a church flagpole.

"This follows a similar report of a dead fox being located on the church door step recently too.

"Our inquiries into these incidents are ongoing to establish the exact circumstances."