The following was reported by Roy Stilling using the Fortean Times - On line reporting service


Seen in Winchester Gazette Extra (Hampshire, S. England) on Thursday September 7th, 1995

A Police officer is among the latest to report sightings of a black beast on the prowl near Winchester. Fears that a big cat is romaing the countryside around Winchester were renewed last week after a police officer caught sight of the mystery animal.

PC Stephen Challis, 46, of North Walls police station, spotted the black beast in a field in Abbotts Barton on Friday morning. [September 1st, 1995]

"It was about the size of a springer spaniel or fox, but it was black like a domestic cat," he said.

The police officer said the beast was about 2ft high and about 3ft in length, including its bushy tail. "I am convinced it was a large cat," he added.

He was called out by pensioner Walter Clarke, 85, of Francis Gardens who saw the big cat in a field near his house.

Mr Clarke said: "It just looked like a very big cat, it wasn't enormous but it was about three of four times the size of a normal cat."

Pc Challis borrowed Mr Clarke's binoculars and watched the cat from a distance of 150 yards.

"It seemed to look at me and I decided to go and have a closer look," he said.

But as he approached the animal it disappeared into the undergrowth.

The brave policeman was not scared of the big cat and said: "It was more scared of me than I was of it."

Another resident who spotted the animal on Sunday [September 3rd, 1995] was Jim Turnbull.

As he stood on his porch in Austen Close he saw a large black cat about 20ft away.

"It was feeding from a wheelie bin and when I let my dog out the cat went bounding off toward's King's Worthy," he said.

"It was about three times the size of a domestic cat and about 2ft tall."

In the early hours of Friday morning he heard an animal, which sounded like a leopard, growling outside his house.

Last December Hampshire County Council worker Ron Kirby, 46, said he saw a puma savage a roe deer 100 yards from his house in Chaundler Road.

The deer's corpse was examined by Peter Small, a veterinary expert at Marwell Zoological Park, who said the attack was probably carried out by a big cat.

A spokeswoman for Marwell Zoo said they had had several reports of sightings over the weekend but could not comment unless they saw it themselves.


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