Was St Albans big cat responsible for mutilated deer?

PUBLISHED: 08:45 12 January 2018 | UPDATED: 08:45 12 January 2018

Have you seen a big cat prowling in St Albans?

Have you seen a big cat prowling in St Albans?

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Could a mutilated deer corpse found in Bricket Wood be the work of the elusive St Albans big cat?

What happened to this deer? Picture: Luke Houghton What happened to this deer? Picture: Luke Houghton

Luke Houghton, 18, was cycling in the area on Monday at about 6pm when he passed by what first appeared to be roadkill.

After taking a closer look, Luke said he is confident the remains were abandoned by a large predator.

He said: “I just thought it was roadkill at first, it just looked like a dead animal. But as I got close to it I saw it was a mauled deer. I was curious because it’s so unusual. I’ve never seen something that gruesome. I felt a bit ill too, it was pretty gory.”

Only the deer’s top half is intact, with meat stripped from its rib-cage and spine and its hind legs ripped off.

What happened to this deer? Picture: Luke Houghton What happened to this deer? Picture: Luke Houghton

Luke added: “From the photos I don’t know what else could have done that, it would not have been a fox - that was something a bit bigger than a fox.”

He has read about big cat sightings in the Herts Ad over 2017, and believes the corpse closely resembles another carcass spotted by a dog walker in Wheathampstead in April.

“It lines up with the photos from April - the carcass looked very similar, which is interesting.”

A London Colney taxi driver also captured a video of what he believed was a big cat walking into some undergrowth by Napsbury Lane in the early hours.

Large pawprints were preserved through an Aldwickbury golf bunker after a night of rain and a driver recently spotted what he believed to be big cat remains by the side of the M25.

On top of these, members of the public have been coming forward to report sightings around the district and further afield - in Sandridge, Welwyn, Redbourn and Hatfield.

Recently a feline enthusiast suggested the animal could be a European wild cat, which is native to Scotland and only slightly bigger than a domestic tabby.

Herts police figures show between 2011 and 2016 there were about 30 sightings reported. They advise people keep a safe distance and call 101.

Seen the big cat? Email hertsad@archant.co.uk

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