Witness in Rosa King Inquest tells of ‘panic’ on the day she died

Hamerton Zoo Park keeper Rosa King. Picture: ARCHANT

Hamerton Zoo Park keeper Rosa King. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Witnesses have recalled the panic after the body of a zoo keeper was discovered in a tiger enclosure at Hamerton Zoo.

Witnesses have recalled the panic after the body of a zoo keeper was discovered in a tiger enclosure at Hamerton Zoo.

Rosa King died from "traumatic injuries" on the morning of May 29, 2017, after a Malayan tiger called Cicip attacked her in a paddock area while she was cleaning the windows of a visitor viewing area.

An inquest into her death, expected to last two weeks, started on Monday at Huntingdon Town Hall.

Frank York, a zoo enthusiast, was visiting Hamerton Zoo on the morning of the incident when he spotted Rosa, 33, in the enclosure, the inquest heard. He was the first to find her body.


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After realising that the zoo keeper was hurt, he then went to find a member of staff in a "state of panic".

Mr York said he was observing the tigers when "suspicions were raised" as he could not see a member of staff within the enclosure.

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He said when he walked to the last viewing window, he saw Rosa's body, and could see that she was 'already dead'.

He went on to explain how he had told a family who were visiting the zoo not to proceed to the last viewing window, and asked everyone to stay back as "something terrible had happened".

A statement, read out by coroner Nicholas Moss on behalf of zoo keeper Ben McRobie, explained how Mr McRobie could overhear staff members shouting "[the tiger] he's got her, she's dead" as he ran to help.

Mr McRobie had been working at the zoo, based near Sawtry, since August 2016 as an education officer. He said that he and Rosa were "good friends" and that she was her "normal cheerful self" on the morning of her death.

"I left the classroom and started running. At this point we aren't supposed to give much detail over the radio because it may panic people. I jumped on the back of an RTV (a vehicle used by staff to travel around the zoo) and once I arrived I saw [zoo staff] Amy and Chris.

"I could hear Chris saying "he's got her, she's dead" and saying that he needed to get him off her. I went to grab some meat to try and distract Cicip. Rosa was lying there," he said.

"Rosa was my friend. She was the first person I became friends with when I started work here."

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