Search

‘Beast of Hackney Marshes’ - has Kula Shaker drummer solved the mystery?

PUBLISHED: 13:12 25 May 2012 | UPDATED: 17:29 25 May 2012

Willow the dog - the

Willow the dog - the "Beast of Hackney Marshes"?

Carmen Valino - freelance on shift

The mystery of the “Beast of Hackney Marshes” may have become a little less mysterious – the drummer from Kula Shaker believes the monster is none other than his massive pet dog, Willow.

Last week, the Gazette published photographs taken by terrified student Helen Murray who says she saw a huge animal as she walked through woods near the River Lea earlier this month.

“I managed to get away but was scared half to death,” she said, adding that the creature was bigger than a person and covered in shaggy black fur.

But within a day of the Gazette appearing on newstands, Paul Winter-Hart, the drummer from the 1990s chart-topping group, reckoned he’d solved the mystery.

Paul’s wife Nicole contacted us to say she “beast” looked suspiciously similar to the family’s pet pooch.

“I’m still laughing,” said the 42-year-old, who designs clothes for the children’s fashion website www.nixieclothing.com. “I think this poor girl, Helen, saw Willow our dog.

“My husband recognised her straight away when he saw the paper. He bought a copy to show me and said, ‘Look, Willow’s made the front page!’

“I knew it was her immediately. It’s funny because our friends call her ‘The Beast’ and now she’s ‘The Beast of Hackney Marshes’!”

Willow is a four-year-old Newfoundland, a giant breed of dog, and Nicole and Paul, 40, and the couple’s children Ivy, 12, and Faye, nine, often walk her along the river near their home in Lower Clapton.

Nicole said: “I don’t know where we were when those pictures were taken - Willow must have run up ahead of us.”

Chunky Willow stands over 5ft tall when she is on her hind legs, but Helen, who was frightened on the Marshes, doesn’t believe the family pet is the monster she saw.

“That dog is so cute,” she said, when the Gazette showed her photos of Willow.

“I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a dog as it was far too big. And its build wasn’t dog-like.”

• What do you think? Is Willow the Beast of Hackney Marshes or does something else stalk the area? Write to us at hackneygazetteletters@archant.co.uk.

Latest Hackney Stories

17:00

Bromley manager Neil Smith feels his side were unlucky to lose 3-1 to league leaders Leyton Orient.

16:00

Eric Dier is ready to finally return to Portugal in what will be a “very special” occasion when England play in the Nations League Finals next summer.

14:00

Harry Redknapp is currently taking part in the latest series of I’m A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here!

Mavis Jackson was born nine days after the Great War ended on November 20, 1918 – making her a “peace baby” despite her grand old age of 100.

11:00

Leyton Orient captain Jobi McAnuff is delighted with his free-kick goal and his side’s fight back to win 3-1 against London rivals Bromley.

Health chiefs have moved to address a multimillion pound overspend at Homerton Hospital.

10:00

Arsenal Women’s Jordan Nobbs has been ruled out of the rest of the WSL season and could miss next summer’s World Cup in France after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament, writes Joshua Bunting.

Finsbury Park has been stripped of its Green Flag status after a damning “mystery shopper” report by an environmental charity.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Former teacher Steve shares his experiences as a foster carer for teenagers, from dealing with some of their more challenging behaviour, to the rewards of seeing a child develop into a happy and healthy adult

If you are an unpaid carer in Hackney over the age of 25, who would like to get back into work, then Working for Carers can provide the practical assistance and support you need.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now


Newsletter Sign Up

Hackney Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists