Tuesday, June 05, 2007

U.K.: Big cat may have killed lamb on Beckham estate

Jun 4 2007

by Gareth Morgan, Western Mail

ONE of the nation's most famous lambs – named after Welsh songstress Charlotte Church – has been savaged to death by a wild cat, it emerged yesterday.

Gordon Ramsay was keeping his prized animals at the 17-acre Hertfordshire estate owned by David and Victoria Beckham as part of his TV show The F-Word.

Both Ramsay and the Beckhams are said to be "horrified" and deeply shocked by the news.

When a vet was called to analyse the carcass, he told Ramsay he suspected the lamb had been killed "by a big cat".

An insider on the show said, "Gordon has been devastated by the death of his lamb, as have the Beckhams. We sent Gordon and a film crew up immediately and sure enough it was Charlotte, but all that remained of her was her face. It was totally shocking. She had been savaged to death and all the flesh had been stripped from her bones. The only reason the lambs went to the Beckhams' was because Gordon had run out of grass at his house.

"Charlotte and Gavin were loving the grass at the Beckhams' home and getting very plump."

The two lambs were named after Charlotte Church and Gavin Henson.

The source added, "Victoria was especially concerned as her children have a Shetland pony which was given to them as a present by Elton John. She made sure the pony as well as Gavin were kept in an outhouse the night after Charlotte was killed."

Hertfordshire Police were notified by Optomen Television, which makes The F-Word.

The lamb's carcass was sent to Scotland to be analysed by an autopsy expert, who could not rule out that the lamb had been killed by a big cat.

Viewers will see Ramsay help the vet put Charlotte, who was three months old, into a container to be transported to Scotland in an episode this month.

The 40-year-old chef has bred a French ram with a Welsh ewe to produce the crossbreed lambs which were due to be killed at the end of the series.

Gavin is now back at Ramsay's home in south London.

A Channel Four spokesman said, "The animals' welfare has always been of paramount concern to both Gordon and the programme-makers. Throughout, advice is sought from a range of organisations including the National Sheep Association as well as specialist farmers and breeders."

Meanwhile the real Charlotte Church has revealed how she spent thousands of pounds to save the life of her dog.

She has four Jack Russells but one dog, Benny, had a wild heart beat three times faster than most canines. She said, "He had open heart surgery. He would have died otherwise."

http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/ 0200wales/tm_headline=charlotte-the-sheep---8216-savaged -by-big-cat--8217-&method=full&objectid=19241463& siteid=50082-name_page.html

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