L O N D O N, Nov. 8, 2002 -- The small town of Knutsford in Cheshire, England, is resting easier after a menacing, bloodthirsty, though somewhat furry, terrorist was shot and killed by a vengeful grandfather.
Residents of K(nuts)ford (yes, squirrels do eat nuts) were reportedly "living in fear" after several unprovoked attacks over the past week by an American gray squirrel.
The victims included a woman who was bitten on the ankle while she was walking down the street and a man attacked while he mowed the lawn. The youngest person to be preyed upon by the vicious rodent was 2-year-old Kelsi Morley.
Out for a morning stroll with her mother, Kelsi had stopped to admire the squirrel when it reportedly pounced on her face and sank its teeth into her forehead.
The girl's mother, Karen Morley, was terrified.
"It was awful because she was spinning around and we couldn't get it off," Morley told The Times of London. "From the amount of blood there was, I thought it had taken Kelsi's eye out."
Morley then had to pin her daughter to the ground in order to pull the animal off her face.
The attack on Kelsi was the last straw for her grandfather, Geoff Horth. Saying he had received no help from local animal-control authorities, Horth took matters into his own hands.
Horth's wife told local media: "When Geoff saw what had happened, he just wanted to put a stop to it … if it had bitten a child's face, what would it do next? He didn't want any more children getting hurt."
Having no success on the night of the attack, Horth went out the next morning and hunted down the guilty squirrel and shot it with an air rifle.
"He is sometimes asked by farmers around here to go out and shoot vermin on the estates so he knows what he is doing and he is quite a good shot," his wife said.
Knutsford’s Squirrelly History
This is not Knutsford's first encounter with newsworthy squirrels.
One Derek Squirrel served as the town's deputy mayor in the late 1990s, while in February of 1998, a Twin Squirrel helicopter crashed in the area, killing Matthew Harding, vice chairman of the popular Chelsea Football Club.
A.W. Boyd, in his book The Country Diary of a Cheshire Man, relates that in the late 1920s, a gamekeeper in the area shot a gray squirrel and, having never seen one before, took it to the local museum as a cross between a rabbit and a native red squirrel.
The writer goes on to say that a gray squirrel invasion in Cheshire began just 30 to 40 years after the animal's introduction to Regent's Park in London in the late 1800s.
So, while Knutsford is now safe from its most recent squirrel encounter, one resident stated, "I will never trust a squirrel again."