No criminal charges will be made following the death of a dog walker in Gravelly Hill, Caterham, Surrey, last month, the police have confirmed.
The walker, who has been identified as Natasha Johnston, 28, from the Croydon area, died after suffering “traumatic injuries”, according to the coroner, Simon Wickens, who said the cause of death was “shock and haemorrhage due to multiple penetrating dog bites to her neck.” A full inquest into Ms Johnston’s death has been scheduled for June 29.
Eight dogs were seized by the police, none of which were banned breeds, including two dachshunds and a Leonberger. The owners have been identified and the dogs cared for at private kennels while the police investigation continued.
Detective Inspector Josephine Horner of Surrey Police said: “This is a tragic incident in which a young woman lost her life. I know it has caused real concern locally and I thank the community for bearing with us whilst we conducted our inquiries.
“The criminal investigation has now concluded and the information we have gathered will be passed to the Surrey Coroner to assist in the coronial process.”
While not commenting on the circumstances of the woman’s death, Tandridge District Council’s community services committee members expressed sympathy to her family and friends.
Committee chairwoman Jackie Wren said existing policy for dog walkers was set at a maximum of six dogs and required registration with a national body such as the National Association of Dog Walkers. It also required dog walkers to adhere to a code of conduct.
Local councillor David Lee called for a report to be prepared on what actions the council could take to protect both businesses engaged in dog walking and public safety as soon as the police investigation had concluded.
He said the report should look at a reduction of the number of dogs that could be walked, a consideration of limits on dog sizes and a communication campaign.