A Twickenham family have been left devastated after their pet was killed this month.

The Langrish family had Charlie, who they have had for six years since he was a kitten, taken from them between December 9 and 11.

They believe he was attacked by the so-called Croydon Cat Killer.

See related: UK Cat Killer/ Croydon Cat Killer strikes in Twickenham

His body was found in Sixth Cross Road and taken to a local vet who said the whole ordeal was “horrendous”.

Alice Langrish said before Charlie was killed she was “completely oblivious” to the possible perpetrator, also known as the UK Cat Killer, who is believed to be responsible for hundreds of cat and other animal deaths around the country.

She said: “This was the first time I’d ever heard of it.

“I’m just so shocked. I know it’s only a cat but it’s a cat that you love.

“My son is devastated and said he’s going to take up martial arts so he can catch the guy.

“We’ve had Charlie for six years, since he was a kitten. His sister also lives with us.”

Alice said it is vital people in the area are vigilant.

After speaking to South Norwood Animal Rescue, the animal charity behind the UK Cat Killer investigation, she said: “He seems to be escalating. People need to know.

“There’s a man crouching around in gardens with a torch, it’s so frightening.”

Alice added fondly that the death of Charlie, whose “main occupation was sleeping and eating”, will “certainly leave a hole” in their lives.

Charlie’s body was brought to Twickenham Veterinary Surgery after he was found.

The senior vet and owner, Christabel Moseley, said: “I dealt with him when he came in.

“It was horrendous.

“We got in contact with SNARL and they confirmed the injuries were consistent with the UK Cat Killer.

“It had certain parts missing.”

Christabel wants to warn people in the area but also does not want pet-owners to panic.

A statement on the surgery’s Facebook page read: “Our thoughts are with the family of little Charlie, a much-loved cat, who was found dead on Sixth Cross Road this week.

“Sadly, it has been confirmed that he was the victim of the UK Animal Killer.

“We do not want anyone to panic, but thought it was necessary to write a post to warn people that this has now happened on our doorstep and so please be extra vigilant with your pets over the festive period.

“We do not recommend confining them to the indoors if they are used to going out, but think it would be prudent to keep cats in overnight, especially during the winter period. RIP Charlie.”

Police have offered a £10,000 reward for information leading to the killer, who has been linked to more than 370 animal deaths since 2015.

The police have been working together with SNARL to catch the killer. The investigation, called Operation Takahe, is based out of Croydon and includes police from multiple London boroughs.

Until the perpetrator is caught, the official advice is to keep pets indoors as much as possible, especially at night and to ensure gardens are secure, as the person responsible is known to enter back gardens.

If anyone has any information on who may be committing these offences, contact the Operation Takahe Team on 020 8649 0216, the police on 101 (quoting Operation Takahe) or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.