‘Black panther’ stalks terrified Cotswolds village where sheep’s carcass is found stripped to the bone
- Carcass of an ewe was found near South Cerney, Gloucestershire last Saturday
- Remains discovered by dog walker who called sheep farmer Francis Freeth
- Police are now investigating reports of ‘black panther’ sightings in Cotswolds
Police fear a ‘black panther’ is terrorising a Cotswolds village after a horrified dog walker found a sheep carcass stripped to the bone.
Shocking pictures show the mutilated remains of an ewe found on a footpath near South Cerney, Gloucestershire last Saturday.
Sheep farmer Francis Freeth, 57, had counted his flock of 110 the night before, when he got a call the next day from a dog walker.
They had stumbled upon the mangle carcass, thought to be the second ewe to have been mauled to death in the past 10 days.
The carcass was pulled over three 4ft tall fences and stripped away from its flock, causing officers to investigate reports of ‘black panther’ sightings.
Shocking pictures show the mutilated remains of an ewe found on a footpath near South Cerney, Gloucestershire last Saturday
Locals have spotted big cats prowling around the village this week, prompting suspicions the feline could be the legendary ‘Beast of Broadwell’.
Ellie Haggart, 27, said she was walking her French Bulldog in the village last Thursday when the beast came out ‘into full view of the footpath’.
She said: ‘I didn’t know what it was at first but I knew it was pretty big, I wanted to assume it was an extremely large dog.
‘I soon realised there was no owner and then I could start to see certain defining characteristics of the animal like the feline movement of the shoulders and the difference in the shape of its legs compared to that of a dog.’
Locals have spotted big cats prowling around the village this week, prompting suspicions the feline could be the legendary ‘Beast of Broadwell’ (pictured, 2019)
Ellie added: ‘I don’t know if it saw Oscar and I, but it started prowling slowly in our direction. I was terrified.’
Gloucestershire police’s rural crime team are investigating whether the sighting could be linked to the carcass of Francis’ dead sheep.
Mr Freeth told The Sun: ‘I checked my livestock on Friday last week and counted them all there but on Saturday morning I received a phone call from someone who was out walking and had found one of my sheep mutilated.
‘It was disgusting, only its head was left but not much more apart from its spine and a few ribs, it had been completely stripped bare.
Gloucestershire Police’s rural crime team said: ‘We’re looking into the report of a Black Panther sighting in the Wildmoorway Lane area of South Cerney’ (pictured, 2019)
‘I’m quite annoyed really but there’s not much you can do if a beast like that is attacking your flock. I’m just hoping it won’t get anymore, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did as it’s a ready supply of food for it.’
Gloucestershire Police’s rural crime team said: ‘We’re looking into the report of a Black Panther sighting in the Wildmoorway Lane area of South Cerney.’
Officers appealed on social media with a photo of the sheep carcass and asked if it was connected to the big cat sighting.
The wildlife crime officer added the sheep was ‘pulled over three stock fences 4ft in height from its field and stripped some distance away’.
A Gloucestershire Police spokeswoman said: ‘Last Thursday (4 June) we had a call from a woman who thought she had seen a large black cat near to Wildmoor Way, South Cerney. Two further potential sightings have been reported.
‘A wildlife crime officer has also been in contact with a farmer after a sheep carcass was found in a field in Ashton Keynes.’