Tiger keeper died of ‘traumatic injuries’, inquest told

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

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 on Wednesday.

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.

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.

“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”.

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