Caterham dog attack victim died from bites to her neck, inquest told

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A young woman who was mauled by dogs at a Surrey beauty spot died of “multiple penetrating” bites to her neck, an inquest opening has heard.

Natasha Johnston, 28, suffered shock and haemorrhage including a wound to her left jugular vein on January 12 in Gravelly Hill, Caterham, Surrey Coroner’s Court was told.

Ms Johnston, from Croydon, is believed to have been walking a number of dogs when she was attacked.

At the opening of an inquest into her death, coroner Simon Wickens expressed his “sincere condolences” to Ms Johnston’s family “and all those touched by her life”.

The coroner said on Tuesday: “A post-mortem examination was carried out at Royal Surrey County Hospital on January 18.

Dog attack in Caterham
Natasha Johnston, 28, died in the incident at Gravelly Hill in Caterham, Surrey (Yui Mok/PA)

“The reason for the inquest required is the nature of the traumatic injuries.”

Mr Wickens confirmed Ms Johnston’s listed occupation was a dog walker and formally recognised her family as interested persons in the proceedings.

“I offer Natasha’s family and indeed all those touched by her life my sincere condolences,” he said.

He fixed a date of June 29 for the inquest to begin but added that it could be subject to change.

Last week, Surrey Police said they had closed their investigation into her death, with no prosecutions being brought against any individuals.

Officers seized eight dogs at the scene and the force said none of them were banned breeds.

In a statement previously issued through police, Ms Johnston’s family said: “This is an extremely difficult time for us and as well as dealing with this sudden loss in our family, the significant level of media interest and the graphic nature of some of the reporting has been a source of additional distress.

“We continue to appeal for our privacy to be respected during our time of grief.”

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