Fears are growing that a killer big cat is on the loose in Britain after a butchered deer was found brutally stripped to the bone by a horrified dog-walker.
The mutilated body was found by the woman – appearing to confirm rumours that a deadly creature such as a puma or panther is stalking the St Albans area in Hertfordshire after a string of sightings over the years.
The 44-year-old found the deer stripped to its spine and missing a bottom half in Sheepcote Lane, Wheathampstead, a village about five miles north of St Albans.
The slaughtered animal’s corpse was found in the village of Wheathampstead, about five miles north of St Albans. The mutilated deer was stripped to its spine and missing a bottom half
She came across the gory remains after her dog sniffed out bloody lumps of fresh meat buried in the undergrowth at about 8am on March 1.
The local woman, who did not want to be named, took a picture of the slaughtered animal’s corpse lying on the ground just yards away.
She believes the creature had been savaged very recently – and when she returned to the same spot the next morning it had gone.
She said: ‘It was so shocking. ‘I just don’t know what might have done this.
‘I’ve heard about female foxes killing things but this was totally stripped down.
‘It looked like a big animal had attacked this poor deer.’
The gory find appears to confirm rumours that a deadly creature such as a puma, pictured, is stalking the St Albans area in Hertfordshire (stock photo)
There have been a string of sightings of what is reported to be a ‘big cat’ over the years in the St Albans area of Hertfordshire. It could be a puma, pictured (stock photo)
She said her friends have suggested the deer had been run over before being set upon by smaller animals.
But she dismissed the idea because the animal had been ‘completely stripped’.
The killing comes just days after a “big cat” was photographed prowling through the grass at a picturesque picnic spot in the Quantock Hills in Somerset.
A walker was enjoying the sunshine at Crowcombe Park Gate when she spotted the creature.
The unnamed woman pointed her camera at the massive feline and zoomed in to get a better look, and took a photo to give herself a better view.
A walker was enjoying the sunshine at Crowcombe Park Gate in the Quantock Hills, Somerset, when she spotted what appeared to be a panther, pictured
The unnamed woman pointed her camera at the massive feline and zoomed in to get a better look before taking a picture of the creature
The 32-year-old mum, who was with her teenage daughter said the sun was glinting off its fur as it skulked through the long grass.
Last October a powerful black cat was seen near Luton Airport and last month a driver said he saw a panther tearing across fields in Wheathampstead.
Dr Terry Moore set up The Cat Survival Trust founder, a charity which looks after wild cat species on a 12-acre site in nearby Welwyn Garden City.
He spotted a puma in Hatfield and believes it came from a private collector who has released it.
Hertfordshire Police has been inundated with 30 big cat reports from stunned eye-witnesses in the last five years alone, a Freedom of Information request revealed.