FOURTEEN pet chickens have been beheaded in an "evil massacre" leaving their devastated owner on the verge of collapse.

Branding the slaughter "barbaric", Philip Fairbrother woke on Saturday morning to find the head-less bodies of his hens lying at the front of their coop at his home in Avington Grove, Penge.

In what was a macabre ritual-like slaying, the heads had been cleanly cut off and taken, suggesting the attack was not carried out by another animal.

This Is Local London: Philip Fairbrother

Mr Fairbrother, aged 61, said: "I could smell the blood. It was a horrible sight.

"All the heads have been taken. It's just the torsos left. It's absolutely evil.

"They were just lying there with the heads cleanly cut off.

"Every one of them had been beheaded. The sleeping areas had been unbolted so it was obviously a human attack. It's barbaric. I'm in shock over it. How can people do this?"

He added: "It was absolutely horrific. I was on the verge of collapsing. I can't explain the feeling I felt. I was sobbing, it's just evil. I was shaking so much that I couldn't look at them - it was like a massacre.

"It's heart-breaking.

This Is Local London: One of Mr Fairbrother's chickens the day before the attack

This Is Local London: chicken

Mr Fairbrother, who is on sick leave from his job as a porter at Blackheath Hospital while he recovers from a stroke, says his chickens meant the world to him.

The father-of-one, who has had the hens since last summer, said: "They're not a commodity, it's like losing a cat or dog. I don't trust people anymore. Most people think chickens are just chickens, but these were my pets. They were absolutely beautiful.

"I find them very therapeutic. I just stand watching them. They follow me around the garden.

"They are trusting of humans. They would not create any commotion if a human went near them. If it was a fox or cat they would. But there was absolutely no noise, the neighbours didn't hear a thing.

This Is Local London: Fourteen chickens beheaded in 'evil massacre'

"Morons like this tend to brag about their conquest, so maybe someone will read this and grass them up.

"I'd like this to be a warning to other people to be careful and keep your pets safe."

Bromley police said they were investigating the incident, which happened overnight on Friday and Saturday.