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Rabbit murderer stalks Ruhr Valley

Fans of Watership Down look away now

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Rabbit owners in the German towns of Witten and Dortmund are living under a pall of fear following the slaughter of 30 animals in a year-long lapine decapitation murder spree.

According to the BBC, the animals are always found headless and drained of blood. Seventy-four-year-old Elfriede Dumont explained: "One morning, when I came out to feed my rabbits, I was surprised to see that the hutch door was open. I looked inside and saw Rocco just lying there. His head was missing. A little later I found Felina in the bushes. She'd been killed, too. I just cannot understand why."

Police officer Volker Schuette, having shown the shaken Beeb hack "disturbing photographs of headless pet rabbits", elaborated: "It's always the same. Detectives find the rabbit lying dead in a hutch. An unknown person has cut off the head and drained off the blood in a box or a bottle. So we find no blood and no head."

Police are concerned the murderer might turn his attentions to humans, and have accordingly set up a task squad which has to date examined rabbit cadavers for possible DNA traces and quizzed 300 people - without result.

To add a final twist - and a much-needed IT angle - to this macabre tale, the powers that be reckon that since the victims were mostly "hidden from public view, locked away in back yards or back gardens", the perpetrator might be using net satellite images to pinpoint hutches. ®

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