Zookeeper died of '˜traumatic injuries' after tiger attack at Hamerton Zoo Park, inquest told

A zookeeper killed by a tiger died of traumatic injuries and was formally identified by her employer, an inquest has heard.

Wednesday, 7th June 2017, 11:13 am
Updated Thursday, 8th June 2017, 3:30 pm
A photo of Rosa released by her family

Rosa King, 33, died at Hamerton Zoo Park in Cambridgeshire in what was described as a “freak accident”.

Senior coroner David Heming extended his sympathies to her parents, Peter and Andrea, and members of her wider family as he opened and adjourned an inquest hearing at Cambridgeshire Coroner’s Court in Huntingdon this morning, Wednesday June 7.

Ms King died at the zoo on May 29 and her body was formally identified to police at 3pm by her employer, Andrew Swales, who had known her for 15 years.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Rosa King with the tigers at Hamerton Zoo Park on World Tiger Day in 2013

A post-mortem examination recorded the medical cause of death as traumatic injuries.

“There’s an ongoing investigation into the circumstances of how the tiger came into direct contact with Rosa,” Mr Heming said. “This investigation will take some time to complete.

“Given that this was a workplace incident, this will necessitate a jury inquest.”

The six-minute hearing, which was not attended by Ms King’s family, was adjourned until November 23 for a pre-inquest review.

Rosa King with the tigers at Hamerton Zoo Park on World Tiger Day in 2013

“If the investigation is completed prior to that date the inquest may be brought forward,” said Mr Heming.

A Cambridgeshire Police spokesman said officers were called to reports of a serious incident at the zoo at 11.15am and that a tiger had entered an enclosure with a keeper.

Police are not treating the incident as suspicious, and a joint investigation with Huntingdonshire District Council is continuing.

Zoo bosses have said the tiger will not be put down and that this decision was “fully supported” by the keeper’s relatives.

Following her death, Ms King’s family said she “lived and breathed a vocation that meant the world to her”.