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Thursday, 7 November, 2002, 11:53 GMT
Granddad guns down terror squirrel
A squirrel
When squirrels attack: Knutsford has been living in fear
A vicious squirrel which terrorised a Cheshire town has been shot dead by a grandfather seeking vengeance.

The animal had already attacked a man mowing his lawn and woman walking down the street, in Knutsford.

But when it sank its teeth into Kelsi Morley's face, her grandfather Geoff Horth decided to act.

He went out and killed it.

A squirrel
Grey squirrels are usually shy
Two-year-old Kelsi was attacked as she took a morning stroll with her mother.

She stopped to admire the squirrel before it pounced on her face and sank its teeth into her forehead.

Kelsi's mother Karen had to pin the girl to the floor and pull the animal off her face.

The youngster was left bleeding heavily from a deep gash.

Mr Horth said he was unrepentant about his vigilante action.

On Thursday his wife said: "When Geoff saw what had happened, he just wanted to put a stop to it.

"He said if it had bitten a child's face this time, what would it do next? He didn't want any more children getting hurt."

Community terrorised

She said her husband was sometimes asked by farmers to shoot vermin and was a good shot.

Mrs Horth added: "This squirrel had been terrorising people around here for weeks.

"After the attack on Kelsi, my daughter phoned the environmental health and the RSPCA but they didn't want to know."

It is thought the animal, which had a distinctive bald patch on its tail, may have been taken in as a pet and had lost its fear of people.

A spokeswoman for the RSPCA said it was unable to help "because in this instance it was not an animal which was being harmed, it was a child".

She added: "We have never heard of a case like this before. Even those tamer squirrels which are fed regularly in urban areas remain cautious of people."


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See also:

26 Nov 01 | England
21 Sep 01 | Science/Nature
15 Sep 00 | Entertainment
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