Kim Howells, left, and Sophie Gwynne near the spot in the Forest of Dean where they saw the big cat they believe to have been a panther
dailymail - A 15-year-old schoolgirl has told of her terror after being chased by a big cat she claims was a 'black panther' in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire.
Kim Howells was enjoying a walk through the woodland on her 15th birthday with her cousin Sophie Gwynne, eight, when they came across the animal lying beneath a tree.
Ms Howells, who described the 'panther' as about the size of a Great Dane dog, with big eyes, paws and a long tail, said the creature began following them after they spotted it at around 8.30pm on Monday night.
She said: 'I saw something out of the corner of my eye and at first I thought it was a log or something.
'We carried on walking but then I looked back and it was sitting up looking at me.
'It was definitely a big cat. I've seen wild boar and deer in the Forest before and it definitely wasn't one of them.
'What makes me sure is that it was still light so I could see it really clearly.'
Ms Howells added: 'Sophie was asking what it was and then we looked behind us and it was about five metres away, following us.
'I didn't know what to do so we cut through the brambles and just started running.'
The pair then ran all the way back to Ms Howells's family home in nearby Ruspidge.
Ms Howells's mother Cathy said: 'They were in a real state, their feet were all cut and Sophie was in tears.
'Kim is a very sensible girl and if that's what she says she saw, that's what it is.'
Mrs Howells later showed her daughter a picture of a panther on the internet for her to confirm that was indeed what she had seen.
Mrs Howells said she now has doubts about letting her daughter and niece play in the nearby woods.
She added: 'I used to think that they were much better off there than a public park or somewhere but now I'm not sure, it is a real worry.'
It is not the first time a big cat sighting has been reported near Ruspidge.
In June 2007, milkman Robert Brinton got an early morning wake-up call when he encountered a big cat in Railway Road.
Earlier the same year, firefighter Peter Bishop reported a black cat sighting in Cinderford and a lorry driver from Lydney also saw one on Valley Road.
Teen Girls Chased By Black Panther - Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, UK