‘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 from SNAP.PA

Conversation topics change in the glow of the camp fire compared to daily life.

Read more

US rapper Chris Brown said spending time in prison has helped change him into a better person.

Read more

Just moved into your new halls of residence? You’ll soon learn that all of these are true.

Read more

TOP Stories

17:50
The fire broke out in high rise flats in Battersea. Picture by @EreenaC.

Around 80 firefighters tackled a blaze at a high rise block of flats in Ingrave Street, Battersea this afternoon - rescuing 18 people.

18:58
Dead fish in Harrow Lodge Park lake, east London (photo: Arnaud Stephenson)

Mystery surrounds the death of around 1,000 fish, discovered floating in an east London park lake at the weekend.

16:50
Steve Hooper and Mary Alexander with her unusual duck-shaped potato. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

A duck-shaped potato and “bitter and twisted” runner beans were the unlikely stars of a horticultural autumn show in Highgate.

Promotions

Advanced running and training technology for beginners up to elite athletes

If you’re thinking of adding running treadmill to your fitness routine, you’re on the right track! There are several advantages to running on a treadmill versus running outdoors.

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.

London Bloggers

Wednesday, September 17, 2014
The cast, including Josie Lawrence and Mike Myers

Simon Collins catches up with the improv impresarios, who despite being the world’s longest-running comedy show with the same cast, have lost none of the razor-sharp wit:

Monday, September 1, 2014
Do you really need an explanation for that?! (Pic by Serena Marinelli)

If you’ve ever seen an Italian movie, you would probably know how important body language is in the culture.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Don't waste any of your harvest

If you are now inundated with ripe tomatoes, juicy green beans, berries and herbs, don’t leave them to go stringy or mouldy because the freezer can go a long way to making your crops last well into winter.

Quizzes

(Photo by Ben Horton/Getty Images for Madame Tussauds Hollywood)

If there’s one thing that can change Londoners from nice, normal people into superhumans capable of extreme levels of rage and passive aggression, it’s the descent below-ground.

Read more
Do you fancy yourself as a football ground know-it-all? Try our devilishly difficult quiz!

How well do you know your football stadiums? This brand new quiz from London24 will seperate the men from the boys...

Read more
Do you know your Thames truths from the porkie pies? (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

So, you live (or work) in London, and you think you know the river well.

Read more