Essex: Holidaymakers were convinced of lion sighting

HOLIDAYMAKERS who were the first to see a suspected lion prowling the Essex countryside yesterday said they were completely convinced what they saw was the real thing.

Denise Martin, who was staying at the Earl’s Hall Farm Caravan Club site with her husband, Bob, 51, was the first to see the large cat.

The couple, from Canvey Island, went out to investigate because they saw smoke coming from a field and thought there was fire.

“As the smoke started to clear, I could see a shape across the field and I was convinced it was a lion,” she said. “I showed Bob –he was so excited that there was a lion in the field.

“With the naked eye, you could see it was a lion – it was bigger than a German Shepherd, and it was female. It was too far away for us to be scared. It was looking at us, its ears were twitching. She was quite content to just watch us.”


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Mrs Martin estimated the lion was in the field for about an hour before it slouched down and crawled off into the bushes.

Her husband added: “I looked and I was convinced I could see a lion so rushed and got the binoculars out – it looked so real.” The sighting was confirmed by Mrs Martin’s brother, Dave Wright, 57, who was staying in a neighbouring caravan with his wife, Sue, 58.

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The couple, from Dagenham, were able to capture some images of the “lion” on a digital camera from about 200 yards away.

Mrs Wright, said: “We watched it for a good half an hour before it disappeared.

“There is no doubt in my mind that we were looking at a lion, a female lion because it did not have a mane. It was obviously not a domestic cat or a dog. It was a lion. This is certainly not a hoax.”

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