Report from Jane Ellis
An accountant today claimed she came face-to-face with a big cat on
the driveway of her North-east home.
Denise McPhie, 37, was stunned when she returned home from work at 7.15pm and saw the 6ft long animal through her car window just seven yards away.
Denise who works for Pathfinder Energy Services in Dyce and who lives at Westwinds, Hill of Kintore, said: "I couldn't believe my eyes.
"I had just driven home when I looked out my car window and saw what I can only describe as a mountain lion.
"It was around 4ft long with a 2ft long tail, giving an overall length of 6ft.
"It must've only been about seven yards from the car when it looked up.
"I could see it face on and its fur was clear in the lights of the driveway which come on automatically.
"It crossed the driveway very slowly and went up a small bank into a field.
"I sat in the car for a minute to give it time to disappear.
"When it moved, its body was tilted forward and it had a cat-like gait.
"But I wasn't frightened when I saw it.
"I was more shocked and disbelieving than anything," she said.
Her sighting on Monday night is the latest in a string of dramatic close encounters of the cat kind in the region.
She believes the colder weather may have forced the animal to come down from higher ground to hunt or seek shelter.
Her house is surrounded by seven acres of farm and woodland.
She moved into the house in November with her partner Gerry Stockwood, 56, a commercial director at Aberdeen oil firm AMEC.
A neighbour also claimed several sacks of rubbish had been burst open over the weekend.
Her cat had been too frightened to go outside at the weekend, she added.
Sightings of animals - including pumas, black panthers and fen tigers - reached record levels in the UK last year, according to experts.
In the last 12 months there have been more than 800 reports of big cats in Britain.
In 1995, there were 25 sightings of big cats across the North of Scotland.
Mystery beasts were spotted in Inverness, Speyside, Buchan and Aberdeen.
9 th January 2003
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