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'Like a horror movie': Islington mum who found 5ft python in her kitchen late at night tells of horrifying encounter

PUBLISHED: 14:02 01 August 2019 | UPDATED: 14:02 01 August 2019

The snake has now been taken into the RSPCA's care. Picture: RSPA

The snake has now been taken into the RSPCA's care. Picture: RSPA

Archant

An Islington woman who was trapped in her house with a 5ft "bone crushing" python on Tuesday night has told of her real life "horror movie".

Full-time carer Dionne Burke went into the kitchen of her Dewey Road home to fetch her son's medicine when she spotted the predator's writhing, "thick", golden-brown coils atop her boiler.

With one sleeping 15-year-old and another son, 16, on crutches, it fell on a terrified Dionne to close the kitchen door, blocking their escape route to the street via the kitchen.

"As I turned around there was a snake on top of the boiler," the 45-year-old said. "At this time it had probably just climbed up. It's unbelievable. It was so massive!

"I have never seen anything like that in my entire life. I was so terrified but I had to be brave for my boys.

Dionne Burke found a five foot python in her Dewey Road kitchen on Tuesday evening. Picture: Dionne BurkeDionne Burke found a five foot python in her Dewey Road kitchen on Tuesday evening. Picture: Dionne Burke

"At the end of the day this is a matter of life and death because there is a 5ft snake in somebody's kitchen. It was like a horror movie with no way out. It was so disturbing.

"When I put the light on, I'm telling you, the actual snake was looking me dead in the eyes. Inside my soul was shaking. I was like: 'My kids are here, oh my gosh, what do I do?' I startled it and its head was going left and right in motions. I was praying to god. Who do I call? It's like Ghostbusters. You don't expect to see that in your home."

In the absence of Ghostbusters, she called the police, who allegedly first referred her to the RSPCA as it wasn't deemed an emergency.

But Dionne was told the RSPCA, as a charity, didn't have the resources to send someone out that evening, so the quick thinking mother called the police again and explained her son's medicine was in the kitchen, making it an emergency. A copper was sent to collect the serpent in a box filled with blankets.

Dionne added: "People have said: 'Why didn't you scream or call neighbours?' But I was looking up 'snakes reactions' on the internet, while talking on the phone to police, and it said: 'You shouldn't startle or approach them when in unfamiliar territory,' because pythons may not be poisonous but they are bone crushers."

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The police officer who collected the snake suggested it had come up through the pipes, and Dionne believes it forced its way out through a kitchen cupboard due to its displaced contents.

It was gone 1am by the time the python was removed but Dionne spent the next 90 minutes cleaning her kitchen. She's struggled to sleep since for fear the creature may have laid eggs in her house.

Dionne has no idea how long it had been in the property before she locked eyes with it.

"I don't even want to be in my own kitchen any more," she said. "That's how bad it is. I haven't eaten in my kitchen since. Has it laid any eggs? They say snakes travel in twos - are there any more that are coming around for dinner?

"My family members with young children are like: 'We're not coming to your house any more because you have snakes coming out the woodwork."

Dionne and her friends have been knocking on all her neighbours' doors to ask if they're missing a python, but no one's claimed it.

Lisa Miller, of the RSPCA, collected the snake from Islington's Tolpuddle Street police station yesterday and took it to the charity's Putney Animal Hospital.

She said: "We're not sure who owns the royal python but he is in good condition so could have escaped from his home, and gravitated towards the cosy boiler cupboard to keep warm.

"During the summer months, escaped reptiles have more chance of survival should they find themselves outside of the safety of their heated vivariums, but they can gravitate towards heat sources, as may have been the case here.

"He is shedding a little bit of skin, and is around 5ft long. Anyone who has any information about him can leave a message for me on our inspector's appeal line number by calling 0300 123 8018."

Islington Police yesterday tweeted: "A large brown and gold reticulated python has been releassssssed without charge after being found unexpectedly in a home in #Islington."

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