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‘Big cat’ startles jogger
Published 02/08/10

A JOGGER was startled by what he thought was a big cat near Henley.

Andrew Cleary, 45, was running between his home in Mill End and Dairy Lane when a large cat-like animal ran across his path.

He said: “Just a couple of feet in front of me this black animal went streaking across.

“It was much too big to be a house cat. It was about the size of a Labrador but it didn’t move anything like a dog. It moved like a cat and I could see its long tail as it disappeared into the bushes.”

Mr Cleary’s sighting brings the number in the past 12 years to 14 but he wasn’t aware of the previous ones because he only recently returned from four years in Columbia working as a teacher.

He said: “I have no thoughts one way or another as to whether all of these big cat rumours are true but I definitely saw something, so who knows?”

The sightings began in 1998 when there were several over a period of a few months in Goring, Stoke Row, Fawley, Ipsden and Woodcote.

A big cat was seen in Nuffield in 2001 and in 2005 a train driver reported seeing one near Wargrave station and a shopkeeper did the same in Binfield Health.

In 2006, an angler claimed to have seen a seven stone cat-like animal in Sonning Eye and another was reported at Nettlebed.

Last year, Nigel Spiers of Farm Road, Henley, described seeing a big cat at the roadside, Jane Alexander saw one in Nettlebed high street and rower Ben Lewis, 30, came across an animal on his morning run in Valley Road, Henley.

View our interactive map showing all the latest sightings across the area - or contact the newsroom on 01491 419 400 if you think you've seen a big cat on the prowl.

Published 02/08/10

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