A railway worker claims to have been stalked by a "black panther" during a night shift in the Peak District.
Billy Brown, 37, vividly recalls the warm breath of a mysterious big cat, rising from its nose as it crouched beside a vehicle in a car park.
The team leader's first creepy feeling of the beast's presence was the feeling of being watched by Chinley, High Peak, after inspecting the Cowburn Tunnel, which links Edale and Chinley, Derbyshire.
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Billy had made it halfway through the Edale station platform when he spotted a pair of big yellow-green eyes staring at him from a car park, the Buxton Advertiser reports.
A better glimpse revealed the predator to boast the body of a Rottweiler.
Billy said: “I shone my full beam headlight into the car park and there was a black panther just sitting next to the back of a car. I could see the steam coming off its nose as it was breathing. And it was glaring at me. We must have been face to face for a good four or five minutes.
“It was about the size of a medium Rottweiler dog. I had no phone signal and nowhere to run. As a professional I had to carry on my inspection.
"I was on the railway, the cat could only see from my chest upwards and couldn't see my legs. So I slowly carried on walking and left the station.”
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Billy, from Whaley Bridge explained the terrifying encounter occurred nine years ago and has preyed on his mind ever since.
The 37-year-old said he walked for a mile until he reached the bridge on Edale Road and thought he had left the cat all the way back at the car park.
That was until his colleagues not only confirmed his sighting but told Billy that they saw the cat follow him at just 20 feet behind.
Billy's fellow railway inspectors turned their lights on full and sounded the horn to get his attention.
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Billy said: “I waved at them and carried on my inspection for the next three and a half miles. When I finished I met the rest of the team in a van and I will not forget this ever. I was really excited to tell them what I just saw and I started saying ‘you will not believe what I saw’.
"But before I could tell them anything they said ‘we don't know what it was, but when we met you at the bridge, we shone the light and we saw that about 20 feet behind you, there was a black animal looking like a large dog, following you.’
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"I didn’t see the cat behind me but at this moment I realised it crept along the railway or on the railway and stalked me for an entire mile.”
Billy, who is now a senior engineer for the UK’s leading marine and civil engineering specialist, claims his former bosses ordered him to keep quiet about the beast to avoid sparking panic among tourists.
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