Report from Chris Smith
MORE information is needed to identify a mystery beast which attacked a woman in Aberdeenshire at the weekend, experts said yesterday.
The cat-like creature was described as "a sleek black beastie" by the elderly friend who was walking with the middle-aged victim near Insch when the animal pounced, leaving bite marks along her thigh.
Wilfred Simpson, 81, said the animal was the size of a labrador dog but with a long thin body and the motion of a cat.
Last night, the curator of mammals at the National Museums of Scotland in Edinburgh, Dr Andrew Kitchener, said it would be hard to judge exactly what the animal may have been without evidence such as paw prints.
Clues could also be provided by the type of injury suffered by the woman, he added.
"One of the things that crops up in that part of the world are so-called Kellas cats," said Mr Kitchener. "They are very big animals, some of them, although perhaps not as big as a labrador.
"I think it's unlikely it was a purely aggressive thing. The fact it ran off suggests it was perhaps surprised."
The attack happened on Friday night as Mr Simpson and the woman walked to a steading outside her home in the Glens of Foudland near Insch.
The animal shot off into the darkness after biting the woman, leaving her with three puncture wounds on her thigh.
She was taken to a doctor in Inverurie for treatment, and was left shaken by her ordeal.
The woman and her husband, who are in their 50s, said they later found evidence that the animal had been sleeping in the steading.
It is thought the creature may have been startled as the walkers approached its lair.
Police at Inverurie received a report that a big cat was seen in the Insch area that night.
The Press & Journal: January 16 th 2002
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