A big cat in their headlights|Richard_F|richard@cfz.org.uk|09/14/05 at 14:11:08|richard_f|xx|0||A big cat in their headlights
07 September 2005
EDITORIAL - whtimes@archant.co.uk
TWO lads got a night-time fright when their car headlights suddenly revealed a huge black panther in the road.

And another man got the shock of his life when a similar creature darted out of a hedgerow in front of him while he was out walking his dogs.

Both encounters add yet more weight to claims that at least one big cat is prowling the Welwyn Hatfield countryside.

Jamie Banham,19, was forced to slam on the brakes after spotting a pair of gleaming yellow eyes on the A1000 near Herts Country Club, WGC.

His passenger Ian Allen, also 19, told the WHT: "We were driving down the road and all we saw was a pair of bright yellow eyes.

"At first we thought it was a dog or even a wolf but when we saw it properly it was a massive black thing with yellow eyes like a cat's. I've never seen anything like it."

Jamie, who was driving, flashed the lights and beeped the car horn at the animal which then ran into the undergrowth.

"We didn't get out just in case," said Ian. "We weren't going outside with that out there!

"When we told everyone, they didn't believe us but we know what we've seen. It's like seeing a UFO."

Jeff Leo, 58, of Essendon, said he had seen the Beast twice in the last year.

Three weeks ago he was hunting rabbits at dusk with his four lurcher dogs near Hatfield London Country Club, Essendon, when a large black cat pelted out of the undergrowth.

But what was doubly amazing, according to Jeff, was the fact that he had seen the cat in exactly the same spot a year previously when his dogs flushed it out of a hedgerow.

"It was a lot bigger than a normal cat," he said. "I thought it was a muntjac deer but then I realised it wasn't moving like one. And it had a very long, thick tail.