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

13:12 25 May 2012

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

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 Stories

21 minutes ago
The scheme is designed to crack down on crime and antisocial behaviour committed whilst people are drunk (Photo by Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images)

Londoners who repeatedly break the law whilst drunk will be forced to wear ankle tags that can tell if they have been drinking, as Mayor of London Boris Johnson pledges to tackle ‘booze culture’.

Read more
54 minutes ago
Christopher Bridger was accused of sexual offences against three women. He was found guilty of raping a woman whilst he was studying in south London in 2008 [Picture courtesy of Metropolitan Police]

A trainee paramedic at St George’s University Hospital in London has been found guilty of rape at Guildford Crown Court, after lulling women “into a false sense of security by claiming to be gay”.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:44
Lutfur Rahman's tweet

Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman has ordered the Palestinian flag to be flown from the Town Hall.

Read more

TOP Stories

21 minutes ago
The scheme is designed to crack down on crime and antisocial behaviour committed whilst people are drunk (Photo by Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images)

Londoners who repeatedly break the law whilst drunk will be forced to wear ankle tags that can tell if they have been drinking, as Mayor of London Boris Johnson pledges to tackle ‘booze culture’.

54 minutes ago
Christopher Bridger was accused of sexual offences against three women. He was found guilty of raping a woman whilst he was studying in south London in 2008 [Picture courtesy of Metropolitan Police]

A trainee paramedic at St George’s University Hospital in London has been found guilty of rape at Guildford Crown Court, after lulling women “into a false sense of security by claiming to be gay”.

Yesterday, 16:44
Lutfur Rahman's tweet

Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman has ordered the Palestinian flag to be flown from the Town Hall.

Promotions

Renault-Zoe

The Renault ZOE follows on from the introduction of the electric Fluence ZE and Twizy, but unlike the former, the Zoe was designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle.

When no simple way to find Real Ale was at hand, 4 Ale enthusiasts got together to allow anyone with a smart phone to find Real Ale no matter where they happened to be, this was the birth of the Perfect Pint app.

London24 have partnered up with The Week magazine to offer you a complimentary issue – delivered free to your door.

London Bloggers

Thursday, July 24, 2014
London comedians are preparing for Edinburgh (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

During these sultry July afternoons and endless balmy evenings the nervous musings of young comedians in London drift to dreams of triumph on the Edinburgh stage.

Thursday, July 24, 2014
Punchdrunk's The Drowned Man poduction came to an end on Sunday, July 6

If you’ve been wandering around bereft of purpose, a wet-eyed stare fixed on your blank face, then no doubt you too are as gutted as I am that The Drowned Man has finally come to an end.

Thursday, July 24, 2014
(Photo by Joern Pollex/Getty Images)

We’ve been called P.I.G.S.

Quizzes

But which London?! [Photo courtesy of Basher Eyre]

Yoou might know London like the back of your hand, but how well do you know the other Londons - and London landmarks - across the world?

Read more
The prize is glory (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

It used to be Manhattan that was famous for its majestic skyline, but now our fair city is catching up. Do you know your Shard from your Heron Tower?

Read more
Test your London musical knowledge with our album quiz (Images via Getty)

Does your music knowledge stretch from The Rolling Stones to Rudimental, Spandau Ballet to Siouxsie and the Banshees? If so then test it out with our London bands quiz:

Read more