Whilst posted to police station called Potters Bar, my dad became friends with a PC (police constable) called Greg Burrows, who was a very experienced policeman who had served for almost 30 years and had seen some terrible things. One morning my dad turned up for early turn shift, starting at 6.30 am, and when he arrived at the police station, he found PC Burrows upset and anxious. This is what he told my dad:
PC Burrows: “Me and Graham Jupp, were in the area car, and we went down to Dancers Hill Lane. We saw an abandoned vehicle that looked suspicious. We got out and took a look, and found a note in the windscreen from the owner saying he’d run out of petrol. We sat back in the car and Graham carried out a radio check to make sure the car wasn’t lost or stolen. As Graham was doing the check, I happened to look into the offside mirror. I tell you Steve, I’ve never seen anything like it. I saw a pair of glowing orange eyes. I’ve seen a lot of things in this job, but that was the most frightening thing I’ve ever seen. I realised that whatever it was, its eyes were being reflected by the brake lights because I had my foot on the brake. I shouted ‘Christ, what is THAT?’ Graham said ‘What? What did you see?’ He was spinning around in his seat. I said, ‘Can’t you see it?’ and Graham said, ‘see what?’ I looked in my wing mirror, and it had gone. I said ‘It was behind us.’ Graham turned in his seat and looked out the rear window, and said ‘Jesus! Drive drive drive!’ I put my foot down, and drove away as fast as I could. We stopped about 500 yards away, and I said to Graham, ‘You saw it? You saw it right?’ and he said, ‘Yes I did, I really did’”
My Dad: “Well, what did you see? You look freaked out.”
PC Burrows: “Don’t laugh Steve, but I think it was a mountain lion, or a puma. Whatever it was, it was huge. I think that if we’d been outside the car, it would have taken us. I haven’t stopped shaking mate. I’ve never been so scared in my life, I was in the Brixton riots, and I didn’t feel anything like I do now”.
My dad: “Where’s Graham now?”
PC burrows: “He’s in with the inspector. Their organising firearms officers, we got to get this thing before it kills somebody.”
My dad went to find PC Jupp, and just then he came of out of the inspector’s office.
My Dad: “Graham, did you really see a big cat?”
PC Jupp: “Yes I did. It was big mate, it was looking at me through the rear window, looking straight at me. And its head was huge. I know what it must feel like now, to be in the water with a big shark. I was literally paralysed. We’ve got firearms units coming.”
My dad started his tour of duty, and Graham and Greg went home. My dad’s entire shift was spent with the armed officers patrolling South Mims, looking for the creature. They found nothing, no signs, no trace. Nor were there any reports of it that day.
The next day, my dad was again on early shift, and again the firearms officers were on patrol. At about 10.30am, my dad was dispatched to an address in South Mimms, where a lady was on the line (999) reporting that she had some kind of big cat on top of her garden fence looking straight at her. The emergency operator at Scotland Yard kept the
woman on the line because she was extremely distressed and frightened. My dad was fairly close by and – driving with blue lights and siren - he was there within a minute and a half. The woman was still on the phone and talking to an operator when my dad arrived. The emergency operator informed my dad to approach with caution because the big cat was still on scene. My dad was excited, and ran down the side of the house and then crept around the corner. He looked to his left, into the garden and saw nothing. He looked to the right through the kitchen window and saw the woman standing at the sink with the phone in her hand. She looked absolutely terrified, and was pointing towards the garden fence that was directly in front of my dad and about 15 yards away. My dad couldn’t see anything, but then he heard a rushing roaring, sound, and the fence panels bulged and rippled as whatever was behind them, ran along from left to right and brushed against them. He said the fence rippled like “a shower curtain”.
My dad said that whatever it was, was big, strong, and very fast. It was at this point that my dad realised that he had taken out his baton, and couldn’t believe how silly he’d been to run towards the incident and to draw his baton. Because whatever the creature was, it would have eaten the baton and my dad for lunch!
My dad is a SCUBA diver, and has been in the sea with sharks. He said that when the animal moved behind the fence panels, he nearly fell over because his legs turned to jelly out of fear. He also said that every hair on his head and body stood up!
He shouted to the woman, “Shut the doors and windows”
Suddenly and without any warning, the Metropolitan Police helicopter, (India 99) was hovering directly above my dad, just above rooftop level. Dad said this was one of the most exciting things that ever happened to him, because the helicopter was so close, and so low. Via radio, the crew asked my dad to indicate which direction the animal had gone in. My dad pointed in the direction and the helicopter moved off to search for it. My dad later learned that there was a firearms officer on board with a rifle.
On the other side of the fence was thick woodland, and after a couple of minutes, my dad felt confident enough to climb up and look over the garden fence. He saw paw prints in the mud, as big as dinner plates and a long distance apart.
When my dad spoke to the woman whose house it was, she said that right up until the moment she had heard him pull up in the car, “a big cat” had been sitting on one of the fence posts and had jumped down behind the fence between the time my dad got out of the car, and arrived in the back garden. The woman was adamant that the creature she’d seen was a cougar. She said “it was like something you would see in a western.”
Over the next 2 weeks, my dad and his colleagues were assigned to assist firearms officers who were equipped with rifles and shotguns, and even professional hunters and trappers, to catch or kill the creature.
My dad never saw the creature but a few days later a sighting was reported and my dad once again saw the same footprints in a garden.
These incidents were the first my dad had ever heard of “The Beast of South Mimms” and it turned out that over the years – and since my dad’s experiences – there have been many sightings. My dad moved to an inner-city station a short time afterwards, and no creature was ever caught.
Edited by Insightful Waffles, 22 June 2012 - 01:35 PM.