‘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

Lionel Messi now owns every single record in football. That’s what it seems like, anyway.

Read more

Jolie and rising British star Jack O’Connell were at the Unbroken premiere in London.

Read more

Eddie said that despite being sexually attracted to children, he’s never committed a crime and that there’s many more like him.

Read more

Promoted content

Gamucci is a global leader and premier brand of electronic cigarettes

Gamucci has an electronic cigarette tailored for every need. We have a range of both disposable and rechargeable electronic cigarettes suitable for all adult smokers. And for a limited time, some great discounts.

Money saving Christmas gifts to add to your shopping list!

It’s nearly time to go on the hunt for Christmas presents, stuck on what to get for your nearest and dearest? We’ve picked out a selection of great deals to get you started and to help you save some pennies!

Eddie said that despite being sexually attracted to children, he’s never committed a crime and that there’s many more like him.

PM speaks out after Lee Rigby report is made public calling one internet firm a ‘safe haven’.

Social network named in media reports as the platform used by extremists and criticised in government report.

The security services were not in a position to stop the attack on Lee Rigby, but an internet firm might have been able to help foil the plot.

TOP Stories

00:05
The £3 pill is for people who drink more than half a bottle of wine or three pints of beer a night  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

It’s something many Londoners have wished for on a Sunday morning. Now a pill which helps dampen the desire to drink alcohol is available to people who drink half a bottle of wine or three pints a night or more.

Yesterday, 18:36
The scorched remains of family business Archway Sheet Metals. Picture: London Fire Brigade (@LondonFire)/Twitter

Police this evening confirmed they are treating as “suspicious” the fire that gutted the only factory left preventing Tottenham Hotspur from starting work on its new stadium.

Yesterday, 12:49
Dr Lam Hoe Yeoh pleaded guilty to the charges at Croydon Crown Court [Photograph by Philip Toscano/PA Wire]

Dr Lam Hoe Yeoh, also known as Robin, today pleaded guilty to a string of voyeurism, indecency and pornography offences.

London Bloggers

Friday, November 14, 2014
Bird says back up your data

What happened after a friend of mine lost basically everything he’d created in the last 5 years:

Thursday, October 30, 2014
The Appilepsy team: Phil Efstathiou, Alex Telek , Clarence Ji, Miklos Molnar, Joran van Apeldoorn

In Tech City, things move fast. And sometimes erratically. Like phones in the pockets of people having epileptic seizures.

Friday, October 24, 2014
The 91-year-old gave the cyclist a wallop

After Baroness Sharples bragged about walloping a cyclist, London24’s cycling blogger AViewOfLondon has this to say...