Not Hunting the Coventry Cat Binner

This is seriously weird. In fact it’s surreal. If someone wrote this as a piece of fiction, a publisher would probably tell them that it simply wasn’t a credible story. Readers wouldn’t suspend disbelief, they’d say. They’d just snigger knowingly right the way through. Go away and write something slightly more plausible.

Anyway, after a brief mention of it last night, today I’ve been following the hunt for the Coventry cat binner, as it has unfolded on the internet. Dick Puddlecote picked up on it, and later in the day the newspapers followed, and then the TV channels.

The story, for those who don’t know, is that at about 7:30pm on Saturday 21 Aug 2010, on a road in Coventry, England, a fat middle-aged women stopped and stroked a cat, and then picked it up and dropped it into a wheelie-bin, closed the lid, and walked away. The cat spent all night in the bin, until at about 11:30am on Sunday, its owner went looking for it, heard its faint meowing from inside the bin, and retrieved it unhurt. Weird, huh? What was even stranger in this case was that the events of the previous evening had been recorded on CCTV cameras mounted on the cat’s owners’ house. When the cat’s owners looked through the recording, and found the episode just described, they put a video of it on Facebook and YouTube sometime around 8pm on Sunday evening, asking who the woman was. From there the YouTube clip began to slowly propagate through Facebook, which is where I found it a bit after midnight, and added a postscript about it to my last essay.

Today, the story has gone viral. At about 11:30am the Coventry Telegraph published the story and the video. In the afternoon first the Sun and then the Daily Mail also published the story. And in the evening all the UK TV channels ran the story – BBC, ITV, C4 – and Sky News too. By early evening the story was getting reported in Australia, and Holland, and Croatia. The Facebook group started on Sunday evening gained 1,500+ members by late Monday evening. The police had been informed, and the RSPCA too.

There’s really no chance whatsoever that this woman will get away. The video footage is very good, and most likely a number of people know who she is. And she may well have seen herself on the news. The manhunt isn’t going to last very long.

But here’s where it gets even weirder. There is no manhunt. Sometime during the day, the police issued a statement:

Coventry Police said they had been alerted to what had happened and had passed the matter to the RSPCA.

Erm…, the RSPCA (the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) doesn’t have any detectives. So it seems that the RSPCA are just going to wait until somebody phones them up and tells them who did it, and then they’ll swing into action.

Meanwhile, the mood of the Facebook group is getting a bit ugly. Because while the police and the RSPCA are waiting for someone to solve the crime for them, the onlooking public are expecting the police to arrest someone. The story has, after all, gone global. Sample comments:

“Why hasn’t she been tracked down or does modern society think that it’s just a cat.”

“she should come clean and put her hands up, and APOLOGISE to the owners, then we can skin her.”

“i hope the evil cow tops herself ”

“i want to put a vigilante mask on and beat the crap out of her and dump HER in a Bin”

“If you see her go and punch her in the face!”

“God help them if the Stoke lynch mob get to them first”

So where are we? The police aren’t looking for her, and neither is the RSPCA, but there are any number of very angry people wandering around Coventry looking for a fat woman. And if the Facebook comments (and the cartoon below, found on it) are any guide, she can expect to be found with her legs sticking out of a wheelie bin sometime soon.

get the bitchI wrote last night that an army could be assembled on the internet, and that’s exactly what’s happening here. An army of vigilantes has begun roaming the streets of Coventry. And when they find out that the police aren’t looking for the fat woman, they’ll go looking for her themselves with renewed determination. And if the police don’t get to her first, the lynch mob certainly will. Every single fat woman in Coventry is in mortal danger.

The story is still unfolding, but it looks set to become even more surreal over the next few days, as international attention focuses on the hunt for the Coventry Cat Binner – a hunt that isn’t happening. People all around the world will be following this avidly. Reporters with satellite dishes will be camped outside Coventry police station. And periodically, a police constable will come out and say, “Well, we’re still waiting for someone to phone us up and tell us who did this. Just like we’re waiting for someone to phone us up and tell us who robbed the bank on the high street in July.” Meanwhile, all over Coventry, fat ladies will be found up-ended in wheelie bins.

Okay, I’ll stop now. I know it’s not really credible. I’ll try and work on a better and more plausible story tomorrow.

Update 1: 5 pm Tues 24 Aug. The woman has been identified, but not arrested, and the police are ‘keeping an eye on her’. The Facebook group has now been closed (just when the French had started arriving). I doubt it’s the end of the story, somehow.

Update 2: Wed 25 Aug. The Sun interviews Mary Bale:

MOGGIE mauler Mary Bale yesterday admitted dumping a family’s pet puss in a wheelie bin – but insisted: “I don’t know what the fuss is about, it’s just a cat.”

Google News (UK) now carries it as a top story, and lists 827 news reports about it. The Daily Mail has a nice cartoon by Mac.

About Frank Davis

smoker
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to Not Hunting the Coventry Cat Binner

  1. Anonymous says:

    Excellent Frank.
    ps I hate this comment system. Can never remember name or password.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Excellent Frank.
    ps I hate this comment system. Can never remember name or password.

  3. Anonymous says:

    That’s Ironic
    Frank, I logged on here to reply to your initial post and ask “What’s going on with the cat binner?”
    I’d have expected that this story and the video would be all over the news everywhere by now, and this woman would be the most hunted and hated woman on Earth. The media usually pounces on a story like this.
    But it’s not all over the news. Drudge didn’t report on it. Neither did Hot Air. Google News Search returns only 55 news stories, almost all of them from UK news sites. Even the whacky Huffington Post, which runs such headlines as “Fruits that Resemble Genitalia” (I’m not kidding) doesn’t seem to have anything on it.
    I guess one could speculate that it’s a UK story and just hasn’t spread here to the US yet. That’s a very unique and bizarre piece of video footage, though. I’ve seen the couple who owns the cat interviewed and they seem very sincere, so I don’t suspect this any kind of publicity stunt. But, like you said, I don’t this could have been purposely set up better.
    Consider:
    The timing. It’s spot on. Woman enters frame. Cat approaches woman and leaps up into view. Woman strokes cat, waits for car to drive past, and throws cat into bin. Then woman scuttles off.
    The set up. Wall for cat to jump onto with bin placed directly at the end of the wall.
    The angle. All of the action is nearly at center frame and the high angle allows the camera to catch all of the relevant action: the woman’s entrance, the cat’s entrance, the petting of the cat, the car driving past, the woman looking around, the woman’s interaction with the cat, the cat going into the bin, and the woman walking off.
    You couldn’t have staged it better. Of course, CCTV cameras are placed at high angles, walls run along sidewalks, bins are placed at the edge of the yard, and cats and pedestrians use the sidewalk. So, the situation is entirely believable, other than the woman’s actions of course, which are as bizarre as they are cruel.
    What a nice cat, too. Comes up to say “hello” and hops up for a friendly cuddle. I’m glad the cat’s okay now.
    -WS

  4. Anonymous says:

    That’s Ironic
    Frank, I logged on here to reply to your initial post and ask “What’s going on with the cat binner?”
    I’d have expected that this story and the video would be all over the news everywhere by now, and this woman would be the most hunted and hated woman on Earth. The media usually pounces on a story like this.
    But it’s not all over the news. Drudge didn’t report on it. Neither did Hot Air. Google News Search returns only 55 news stories, almost all of them from UK news sites. Even the whacky Huffington Post, which runs such headlines as “Fruits that Resemble Genitalia” (I’m not kidding) doesn’t seem to have anything on it.
    I guess one could speculate that it’s a UK story and just hasn’t spread here to the US yet. That’s a very unique and bizarre piece of video footage, though. I’ve seen the couple who owns the cat interviewed and they seem very sincere, so I don’t suspect this any kind of publicity stunt. But, like you said, I don’t this could have been purposely set up better.
    Consider:
    The timing. It’s spot on. Woman enters frame. Cat approaches woman and leaps up into view. Woman strokes cat, waits for car to drive past, and throws cat into bin. Then woman scuttles off.
    The set up. Wall for cat to jump onto with bin placed directly at the end of the wall.
    The angle. All of the action is nearly at center frame and the high angle allows the camera to catch all of the relevant action: the woman’s entrance, the cat’s entrance, the petting of the cat, the car driving past, the woman looking around, the woman’s interaction with the cat, the cat going into the bin, and the woman walking off.
    You couldn’t have staged it better. Of course, CCTV cameras are placed at high angles, walls run along sidewalks, bins are placed at the edge of the yard, and cats and pedestrians use the sidewalk. So, the situation is entirely believable, other than the woman’s actions of course, which are as bizarre as they are cruel.
    What a nice cat, too. Comes up to say “hello” and hops up for a friendly cuddle. I’m glad the cat’s okay now.
    -WS

  5. Anonymous says:

    typos
    “But, like you said, I don’t THINK this could have been purposely set up better.
    “….so I don’t suspect this IS any kind of publicity stunt.”
    Got ahead of myself while typing and left words out. I re-read, but apparently inserted the words in my mind to fit my intentions. Apologies.
    -WS

  6. Anonymous says:

    typos
    “But, like you said, I don’t THINK this could have been purposely set up better.
    “….so I don’t suspect this IS any kind of publicity stunt.”
    Got ahead of myself while typing and left words out. I re-read, but apparently inserted the words in my mind to fit my intentions. Apologies.
    -WS

  7. Anonymous says:

    WS … you missed 2 cameras. They have cameras pointing left, right and centre covering the area where they park their car.
    Frank … seems police have lost ability to think. They should be looking for this woman because of the vigilantes and not the cat. Lynch mobs tend to get the wrong person as in when there’s suspicion of abuse of a child … pediatricians beware and god help you if you are a paleophile!

  8. Anonymous says:

    WS … you missed 2 cameras. They have cameras pointing left, right and centre covering the area where they park their car.
    Frank … seems police have lost ability to think. They should be looking for this woman because of the vigilantes and not the cat. Lynch mobs tend to get the wrong person as in when there’s suspicion of abuse of a child … pediatricians beware and god help you if you are a paleophile!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Its just such a dreadful betrayal of trust.
    And with that degree of calculation and artifice, doing such things is probably one of her regular pleasures.
    Rose

  10. Anonymous says:

    Its just such a dreadful betrayal of trust.
    And with that degree of calculation and artifice, doing such things is probably one of her regular pleasures.
    Rose

  11. Anonymous says:

    Well their’s one thing I can definately tell you.
    She doesn’t smoke.
    In fact I suspect she’s the type who would pretend to cough,know what I mean ?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Well their’s one thing I can definately tell you.
    She doesn’t smoke.
    In fact I suspect she’s the type who would pretend to cough,know what I mean ?

  13. Frank Davis says:

    Re: That’s Ironic
    I guess one could speculate that it’s a UK story and just hasn’t spread here to the US yet.
    That’s what I think. Yesterday I spent a long time watching the story gathering momentum in the UK, and spilling out into Europe and Australia in the evening. It’s going global. Seems it just isn’t quite there yet.
    I took a look at Drudge, and for a moment I thought the story had made it there, under “Britain’s most disgusting woman.” But it was a another, quite different woman.
    Frank

  14. Frank Davis says:

    Re: That’s Ironic
    I guess one could speculate that it’s a UK story and just hasn’t spread here to the US yet.
    That’s what I think. Yesterday I spent a long time watching the story gathering momentum in the UK, and spilling out into Europe and Australia in the evening. It’s going global. Seems it just isn’t quite there yet.
    I took a look at Drudge, and for a moment I thought the story had made it there, under “Britain’s most disgusting woman.” But it was a another, quite different woman.
    Frank

  15. Frank Davis says:

    I suspect you’re right. She doesn’t “approve”.
    Frank

  16. Frank Davis says:

    I suspect you’re right. She doesn’t “approve”.
    Frank

  17. Frank Davis says:

    That’s what they should be doing.
    Frank

  18. Frank Davis says:

    That’s what they should be doing.
    Frank

  19. Frank Davis says:

    Correction. Apparently they’re not, according to the Mail.
    However, a force spokesman denied the woman has been offered ‘official police protection’ but admitted there are police community support officers outside her home as a ‘sensible precaution’.
    A spokesman said: ‘The RSPCA are leading an investigation into the incident and will be interviewing the woman shortly.
    ‘Coventry Police are supporting this investigation and urge the public to leave the matter to be dealt with correctly by the authorities.
    ‘Coventry Police have not arrested the woman because she has not committed a criminal offence.
    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1305458/Facebook-protest-woman-cat-wheelie-bin-gets-police-protection.html#ixzz0xWcR9LEj

  20. Frank Davis says:

    Correction. Apparently they’re not, according to the Mail.
    However, a force spokesman denied the woman has been offered ‘official police protection’ but admitted there are police community support officers outside her home as a ‘sensible precaution’.
    A spokesman said: ‘The RSPCA are leading an investigation into the incident and will be interviewing the woman shortly.
    ‘Coventry Police are supporting this investigation and urge the public to leave the matter to be dealt with correctly by the authorities.
    ‘Coventry Police have not arrested the woman because she has not committed a criminal offence.
    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1305458/Facebook-protest-woman-cat-wheelie-bin-gets-police-protection.html#ixzz0xWcR9LEj

  21. Anonymous says:

    That’s police thinking for you. Put 2 C3PO’s outside her house to advertise where she lives :)

  22. Anonymous says:

    That’s police thinking for you. Put 2 C3PO’s outside her house to advertise where she lives :)

  23. Anonymous says:

    3 PCSO’s
    3 PCSO’s
    She’d better make sure she puts her rubbish in the right bin or a fine may be in the offing.
    Hmmm wonder what the penalty is for putting a cat in the green wheelie bin ,that’s supposed to be for cardboard and garden waste, not meat.
    Isn’t it interesting how one irrational thought can wreck a life.

  24. Anonymous says:

    3 PCSO’s
    3 PCSO’s
    She’d better make sure she puts her rubbish in the right bin or a fine may be in the offing.
    Hmmm wonder what the penalty is for putting a cat in the green wheelie bin ,that’s supposed to be for cardboard and garden waste, not meat.
    Isn’t it interesting how one irrational thought can wreck a life.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Cruel to smokers
    Frank,
    I could never condone cruelty to animals, but I am surprised at the MSM reaction to this event when they can ignore the plight of a 70 plus pensioner being subjected to legalised thuggery for flicking ash on the floor. Along with the lack of publicity of this case, there is a dearth of reporting on the recent antics of the Kent school who appear to have embarked on a police and council approved illegal vendetta against smokers.
    Is the lack of reporting fear of sympathy arising for a suppressed section of the population?

  26. Anonymous says:

    Cruel to smokers
    Frank,
    I could never condone cruelty to animals, but I am surprised at the MSM reaction to this event when they can ignore the plight of a 70 plus pensioner being subjected to legalised thuggery for flicking ash on the floor. Along with the lack of publicity of this case, there is a dearth of reporting on the recent antics of the Kent school who appear to have embarked on a police and council approved illegal vendetta against smokers.
    Is the lack of reporting fear of sympathy arising for a suppressed section of the population?

  27. Anonymous says:

    Cat Binner
    Well, the story is almost global. I’m from Canada reading the mornings news and let me tell you, this woman is lucky I don’t live in Coventry.
    I have a rescued cat myself, a cat that had one of the roughest lives you could imagine. She was so abused that she couldn’t open her eyes for weeks, in fact, the SPCA had no idea what colour her eyes were. Since I’ve had her though, she’s turned into one of the sweetest cats I’ve ever met, let alone owned. If someone had of done that to my cat, I would be on the prowl, not relenting until vengeance was dealt.
    It is our duty to protect those that cannot protect themselves. I hope you locals in Coventry catch this woman and show her how it feels to be powerless.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Cat Binner
    Well, the story is almost global. I’m from Canada reading the mornings news and let me tell you, this woman is lucky I don’t live in Coventry.
    I have a rescued cat myself, a cat that had one of the roughest lives you could imagine. She was so abused that she couldn’t open her eyes for weeks, in fact, the SPCA had no idea what colour her eyes were. Since I’ve had her though, she’s turned into one of the sweetest cats I’ve ever met, let alone owned. If someone had of done that to my cat, I would be on the prowl, not relenting until vengeance was dealt.
    It is our duty to protect those that cannot protect themselves. I hope you locals in Coventry catch this woman and show her how it feels to be powerless.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Most likely explanation of her actions is that she stopped to talk to the cat and as can be seen in the video it started to follow her.
    What to do? In order to prevent it from getting lot she needs to stop this.
    The bins have been emptied so she knows that people will open them in the next few hours to make sure their rubbish all went or to put something else in.
    Cat is going to be quite safe in one of the bins until then.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Most likely explanation of her actions is that she stopped to talk to the cat and as can be seen in the video it started to follow her.
    What to do? In order to prevent it from getting lot she needs to stop this.
    The bins have been emptied so she knows that people will open them in the next few hours to make sure their rubbish all went or to put something else in.
    Cat is going to be quite safe in one of the bins until then.

  31. Errrr, OK. If you say so!

  32. Errrr, OK. If you say so!

  33. Frank Davis says:

    Well, that’s certainly an innovative explanation! It would certainly keep the cat stayed put in one place. But if I’d done this myself (if I can imagine doing so at all), I think I’d have felt in necessary to leave a little note somewhere saying where the cat was. I might even have knocked on a couple of doors. And the cat binner did neither of these.
    Frank

  34. Frank Davis says:

    Well, that’s certainly an innovative explanation! It would certainly keep the cat stayed put in one place. But if I’d done this myself (if I can imagine doing so at all), I think I’d have felt in necessary to leave a little note somewhere saying where the cat was. I might even have knocked on a couple of doors. And the cat binner did neither of these.
    Frank

  35. Frank Davis says:

    Re: Cruel to smokers
    Stories about smokers never get published, unless they’re unfavourable. We’re non-persons.
    Frank

  36. Frank Davis says:

    Re: Cruel to smokers
    Stories about smokers never get published, unless they’re unfavourable. We’re non-persons.
    Frank

  37. Data protection
    Great post!
    Interesting comment underneath the Daily Mail’s article from a Chris in London (and gets a mass of red arrows),
    “Does this guy have a sign warning people that he is CCTV filming them? Probably not and if so, presumably this “evidence” is not admissible.
    “And does he have all the footage stored for data protection purposes so that any member of the public passing his house can request access to the data stored on them?”

  38. Data protection
    Great post!
    Interesting comment underneath the Daily Mail’s article from a Chris in London (and gets a mass of red arrows),
    “Does this guy have a sign warning people that he is CCTV filming them? Probably not and if so, presumably this “evidence” is not admissible.
    “And does he have all the footage stored for data protection purposes so that any member of the public passing his house can request access to the data stored on them?”

  39. margdurrance says:

    Not hunting the Coventry cat binner
    Yes, this story reached Canada. Do you not have animal cruelty laws there or do charges have to be laid by the RSPCA? Glad that wasn’t my cat because I’d kill even worse than when I’m out of smokes!

  40. margdurrance says:

    Not hunting the Coventry cat binner
    Yes, this story reached Canada. Do you not have animal cruelty laws there or do charges have to be laid by the RSPCA? Glad that wasn’t my cat because I’d kill even worse than when I’m out of smokes!

  41. Anonymous says:

    Re: Not hunting the Coventry cat binner
    Her sentence should be to lock her into a dumpster, and release her 15 hours later, exactly the same treatment she meted out to the poor cat.
    Rick.

  42. Anonymous says:

    Re: Not hunting the Coventry cat binner
    Her sentence should be to lock her into a dumpster, and release her 15 hours later, exactly the same treatment she meted out to the poor cat.
    Rick.

  43. Anonymous says:

    revenge of the cat.
    The lady in question is very ,very sorry … that she got found out. erm she just happens to live quite near to me in Coventry.
    … and as she walks by quite often and my wheelie bin is parked out the front.
    Neither myself nor my friendly 16yr old moggie would have been best please if mischief had entered her head on those frequent ocassions either.

  44. Anonymous says:

    revenge of the cat.
    The lady in question is very ,very sorry … that she got found out. erm she just happens to live quite near to me in Coventry.
    … and as she walks by quite often and my wheelie bin is parked out the front.
    Neither myself nor my friendly 16yr old moggie would have been best please if mischief had entered her head on those frequent ocassions either.

No need to log in

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.